Holy Week Material
A Journey Through Maundy Thursday
Approach Jesus washes his disciple’s feet - John 13:1-11 read by Gill Thompson
Confession Judas will betray Jesus
John 13:12-30 read by Gwen Epps
Pause for personal prayers of confession
Thanksgiving Jesus and his disciples celebrate the Passover meal
Pause for personal prayers of thanksgiving
Jesus brings new meaning to a familiar meal Luke 22:17-20 read by Chris Ray
of bread and wine as Karen Frodsham sings ‘When I Survey’
Departing Betrayal and Arrest - Mark 14:43-50 read by Kathy Frary
What’s so ‘good’ about Good Friday?
‘Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem’ (Luke 9:51). Even before ‘the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4) Jesus had a hill outside the city walls in his sights! That first Good Friday was to see the fulfilment of the promise made by God to Adam, Eve and the serpent back in the garden of Eden in the immediate aftermath of ‘the fall’ (Gen. 3:15).
Throughout his earthly ministry, the religious leaders of the day, afraid of Jesus’ popularity among the people had planned ‘to destroy him’ (Luke 19:47), but their plans were consistently thwarted. The timing, set before ‘the foundation of the earth’ had not yet been reached!
Jesus had come into the world for the sole reason of laying down his life, in a specific way and at a specific time, in order to rescue sinners from their sin. Although his enemies would carry out the method of his death they would do so only because Jesus permitted them to do so. As Jesus had previously told his disciples, ‘no one takes it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again’ (John 10:18).
Luke’s account of the days immediately following Jesus’ triumphal entry in to Jerusalem demonstrates the truth of Jesus’ words to his disciples. Luke tells us that Jesus taught in the temple on a daily basis and that ‘all the people were hanging on his words’ (19:47a, 48b) whilst in the background the religious leaders plotted ‘to destroy him’ but because of the people soaking up all that Jesus was teaching them, ‘they did not find anything they could do’ (19:47b, 48a).
Their time would come after Jesus and his disciples had shared the Passover meal together. Yet even at this point Jesus is in control of what is unfolding! It was Jesus who, knowing what was in his heart told Judas that he must do what he had planned to do (John 13:27). It was Jesus who restrained his disciples as the temple guard led to him by Judas to arrest him went willingly and it was Jesus who stood silent before his accusers as false charges were laid against him.
Golgotha had always been his intention and he willingly endured the kiss of betrayal (Luke 22:47-48), the repeated denial of a friend (Luke 22:54-62); being mocked and beaten by soldiers (Luke 22:63-65); schemed against by the very religious leaders that should have recognised him for who he is (Luke 22:66-71) and ultimately being condemned to the cruellest death known to man, death by crucifixion.
The very death that Isaiah so graphically described centuries earlier in his account of the ‘Suffering Servant’ (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). Jesus willingly endured the shame of a hate-filled crowd screaming and spitting at him as he carried his cross; the pain of the nails driven through his hands and his feet; the physical torture of dislocation no longer able to lift shoulders to catch his breath, slowly suffocating until he breathed his last with one final cry, ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30).
All this to bear our sin and the eternal punishment of a Holy God in our place. As John says in his epistle, ‘By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us’ (1 John 3:16). In the words of the song, ‘it was my sin that held him there’ but it was his love for sinners that kept him there until his work was accomplished.
This is what is so ‘good’ about that first Good Friday.
This Easter Saturday with all the restrictions placed on us for the greater good affords us the opportunity to take time to consider the experiences of those who just over two thousand years ago had witnessed the event of that first Good Friday and following what must have been a sleepless night rose to another Sabbath with its own restrictions with a mind full of a multitude of confusing and overwhelming thoughts and emotions.
The only reference to this day is found in Matthew 27:62-66
where a request is made by the Jewish religious leaders to place a guard on the
tomb of Jesus having remembered what Jesus had said about rising from the dead
after three days.
This isn’t a day that usually gets a great deal of attention. It is sometimes referred to as Holy Saturday. Holy Saturday ‘is unique moment in history’ (Nigel Wright) and marks the day when for those who experienced it God was dead! It has been said, ‘so far as we know, there has only been one day in the last two thousand years when literally not one person in the world believed Jesus was alive.’ Our celebration of Easter tends to hurry from the horror of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday without pause to consider what the disciples endured that first Holy Saturday.
Pause for thought
What events and words of Jesus during those previous three years with Jesus would the disciples have recalled and reviewed throughout this Sabbath day?
Where do you think Jesus was on Holy Saturday? The Apostles Creed states that Jesus ‘descended in to hell’, whilst the Westminster Shorter Catechism speaks of Jesus being buried and continuing under the power of death for a time’.
Page created 07/04/2020 (BAF)