At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?”Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah.One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a reed stick so He could drink.But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save Him.”Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released his spirit.At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45-54)
Good Friday evokes different feelings from different people. Today’s devotional thought is an excerpt from a sermon by S.M. Lockridge, who was a prominent African-American preacher known for his dynamic sermons, including this one titled “It’s Friday.”
It’s Friday. Jesus is praying. Peter’s a sleeping. Judas is betraying. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Pilate’s struggling. The council is conspiring. The crowd is vilifying. They don’t even know that Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The disciples are running like sheep without a shepherd. Mary’s crying. Peter is denying. But they don’t know that Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The Romans beat my Jesus. They robed Him in scarlet. They crowned Him with thorns. But they don’t know that Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. See Jesus walking to Calvary. His blood dripping. His body stumbling. And His spirit’s burdened. But you see, it’s only Friday. Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The world’s winning. People are sinning. And evil’s grinning.
It’s Friday. The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross. They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross. And then they raise Him up next to criminals. It’s Friday. But let me tell you something – Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The disciples are questioning. What has happened to their King. And the Pharisees are celebrating that their scheming has been achieved. But they don’t know it’s only Friday. Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. He’s hanging on the cross. Feeling forsaken by His Father. Left alone and dying. Can nobody save Him? Oh, it’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The earth trembles. The sky grows dark. My King yields His spirit. It’s Friday.
Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered and Satan’s just laughing.
It’s Friday. Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard. And a rock is rolled into place. But it’s Friday. It is only Friday. Sunday is coming!
Prayer: Lord, don’t let me despair on this Good Friday. Help me remember that Easter Sunday is coming.
So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on His head, and they placed a reed stick in His right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before Him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck Him on the head with it. (Matthew 27:26-30)
Some might call it the beginning of the end. Condemned by Pilate, the punishment of Jesus begins. The Roman soldiers take Jesus to the Praetorium where they bind Him to the whipping post, securing His hands over His head, and exposing His back. The soldiers proceed to lash Him with a three pronged, lead tipped whip for 40 lashes. Their intention is to weaken Him physically before His crucifixion so death will come sooner. To further humiliate Him, they fashion a crown of thorns and shove it down onto His head. They spit on Him. They slapped His face. They mocked Him by crying out, “Hail! King of the Jews!”
Interestingly enough, what the Roman soldiers thought was mockery was actually truth. Jesus was King of the Jews, but to the Romans, He was a criminal to be disposed of. Jesus did not respond to their mockery and He absorbed their blows without complaint. In doing so, He was fulfilling Isaiah 53:3-5: “He was despised and rejected- a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
Within this physical flogging and mocking, we catch a glimpse of how foul our sins are to God. What was justifiable for us, punishment for our rebelliousness, He, an innocent man, the Son of God, took upon His own body because He loved us. We cannot appreciate how foul our sin must be to the Lord. Reflect for a moment on the punishment Jesus received in the Praetorium. That is how detestable our sin is to God. Jesus, His Son endured the brutality of the Roman soldiers so that we might be made whole. He endured physical, emotional, and spiritual degradation for our healing.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You for enduring the lashes, the mockery, and the abuse for me.
Here’s a Good Friday Service Script based around Matthew 27 that be used either live or online. This service is around 28-30 minutes long and has room for the addition of songs and a more traditional sermon. I hope you find it helpful.
Narrator: I recently spoke with a man who wanted to join our church. He said, “I like the sermons, the music, the people. The location is perfect for me and I just became a part of a friendly life group.” “Then, what’s holding you back,” I asked. “There is one problem,” he replied. “I just don’t know what to do with Jesus. I believe in God, but it seems to me that Jesus is an entirely different subject. What should I do?”
That statement, “I just don’t know what to do with Jesus” has plagued different people for thousands of years. Jesus changes things. Mention God or angels or spirituality and people will smile and nod politely. Mention the name of Jesus and people might cry tears of joy or shout curses in anger. People throughout history have often thought, “I just don’t know what to do with Jesus.”
The Roman governor Pilate was one of those people.
Jesus Before Pilate Section
(Readers stand in a line. They can either memorize their lines, read from scripts or have cameras focus on them as they read from teleprompters.)
Reader One: After His arrest, Jesus stood before Pilate, the Roman governor.
Reader Two: (speaks as if he is Pilate)Are you the king of the Jews?
Reader Three: (speaks as if he is Jesus) You have said it.
Reader Four: But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent.
Reader Two: Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?
Reader One: But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise. Now it was Pilate’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd-anyone they wanted.
Reader Four: This year there was a notorious prisoner named Barabbas. As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked,
Reader Two: Which do you want me to release – Barabbas, or Jesus the Messiah?
Reader Four: (agitated) Just then, Pilate’s wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
Reader One: Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. Pilate asked again,
Reader Two: Which of these two do you want me to release to you?
Readers One, Three and Four: (shouting) Barabbas!
Reader Two: Then what should I do with Jesus?
Readers One, Three and Four:(shouting) Crucify him!
Reader Two: Why? What crime has he committed?
Readers One, Three and Four: (Shouting) Crucify him!
Reader One: Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd.
(show b-roll of Pilate washing his hands in a bowl)
Reader Two: I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!
Readers One, Three and Four: We’ll take the responsibility for his death.
Reader One: So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
(show b-roll of Jesus being tied down for the flogging)
Narrator: (Washes his own hands in a basin of water) Pilate washed his hands in front of the people because he wanted to claim personal innocence regarding the death of Jesus. Whether he did this for his personal convictions or to appease his wife, he sentenced “the king of the Jews” to be crucified because he didn’t know what to do with this Jesus. The soldiers, on the other hand, seemed to have no question about what to do with Jesus. They tied Jesus to a whipping post, flogged him with a lead tipped whip, and then began to mock him.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus Section
Reader One: Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment.
Reader Two: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter.
Reader Three: Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted,
All: (kneel in a mocking fashion and cry out in unison)“Hail! King of the Jews!”
Reader Four: And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it.
When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again.
All: Then they led him away to be crucified.
Narrator: (Holding a small cross in his hands) It was then that our bleeding, beaten Savior was forced to carry the cross upon which he would be crucified to the place of his own crucifixion. This was done to humiliate him and to wear him down even more. The cross could have been 3 to 4 meters high with a crossbeam another two meters wide. Depending on the thickness of the beams, it could have easily weighed between 170 and 300 lbs. The winding route Jesus carried his cross would have been from the former Antonia Fortress to what is now the Church of Holy Sepulchre. That’s a distance of about 600 meters or just over one third of a mile.
(Crucifixion b-roll throughout)
Reader Four: Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means the ‘place of the skull.)
Reader Three: After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.
Reader One: A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read:
All: (Slightly Louder) This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Reader Four: Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. The people passing by shouted abusing and vulgar statements, shaking their heads in mockery.
Readers One: Look at you now!
Reader Two: You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.
Reader Two:Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
Reader Four: The leading priests, the teachers of the religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus.
Reader Two: “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself!
Reader Three: So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!
Reader One: He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, “I am the Son of God.”
Reader Three: Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
Narrator: (holding long nails in his hands)This time must have been a very confusing time. For Jesus, he had found his friends sleeping while anxiety blood tears stained the ground around him. Most had abandoned him upon his arrest. Peter had denied him. The crowds, some of whom he had taught and fed, cried out for his crucifixion. Then He was mercilessly crucified and even those being crucified with him, those dealing with the same pain as He, were mocking and ridiculing Him. They all seemed to know what to do with Jesus. And now, God the Father knew what to do as well. He was going to allow His only Son to die.
The Death of Jesus
(Cross b-roll throughout)
Reader One: (slowly, determined) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land. At three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice,
Reader Three: (shouting as if Jesus on the cross)Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Reader Two: Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.
Reader One: One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink.
Reader Four: But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
Reader Three: Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.
Reader Four: At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
Reader One:The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened.
Reader Two: The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.
Reader Three: They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
Reader Four: The Roman officer and the soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said,
Reader One: (emphasis on man)Surely this man was the Son of God!
Readers One and Two: (emphasis on was) Surely this man was the Son of God!
All: (emphasis on Son of God) Surely this man was the Son of God!
Sermon and Decision Time(time will vary based off of comments and decision time from pastor)
Pastor: What will you do with this Jesus? That does seem to be the question, doesn’t it? Will you abandon him like many of his disciples? Will you deny him like Peter? Will you condemn him like the Pharisees? Will you wash your hands of him like Pilate? Will you mock him like the soldiers? Or Will you dare to trust Him….? (continue to present Gospel and promise of resurrection)
BETRAYED – Jesus anguished through His prayer, knowing what was about to happen. He was betrayed with a kiss by one of His disciples, a friend, or at least a pretend friend named Judas Iscariot. Judas had spent three years with Jesus. Three years. Jesus had commissioned him, fed him, loved him, taught him, cared for him, and invested in him, but Judas betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver.
It sounds like a lot of money but it was only enough to buy a small field.
DENIED – Jesus was arrested and taken away. Peter followed, at a distance, to the home of the high priest, but had to stay outside the gate until a woman opened it for him. As he entered, the woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?”
“No,” he said, “I am not.”
Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards made a fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself. Once again, someone asked Peter, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it once again, saying, “No, I am not.”
Soon after, one of the slaves of the high priest, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” And for the third time, Peter denied it.
And the rooster crowed.
CONDEMNED – Jesus was taken to Pilate, the Roman governor, who asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent, much to the governor’s surprise.
It was Pilate’s custom each year during Passover to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. This year there was a notorious prisoner named Barabbas.
As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas or Jesus?”
Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death.
So Pilate asked the crowd, “Then what should I do with Jesus?”
“Crucify Him!” they shouted.
“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What has He done?”
But they shouted all the louder.
Then Pilate sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.”
So Pilate released Barabbas to the people. He ordered Jesus to be scourged, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
SCOURGED – Then the Bible says, “They took Him and had Him scourged.” Now, scourging was such that it often killed the victim. But Jesus was a young and strong man in his early thirties. He was in good physical condition. That could be why He didn’t die from the scourging. They stripped Jesus nearly naked, and shackled His hands over His head. Then soldiers stood on either side of Him and whipped Him brutally with what’s called a flagrum or a cat o’ nine tails. It was a wooden handle that had long straps of leather protruding from it. At the end of each strap was a ball of either metal or stone, and that would tenderize the human flesh. Sometimes there were hooks at the end, usually made of metal.
The soldiers took turns doing their job, inflicting as much pain as possible on Jesus.
At this point, for Jesus, the process of death has begun.
CRUCIFIED – Jesus was forced to carry His cross to the place of death. The cross was an enormous wooden beam that you would use to secure a roof in an ancient home. This was recycled timber. Other men had carried it to their own crucifixion. It was covered with their tears and their blood, and their sweat.
On the way, Jesus was so exhausted that He collapsed under the weight of the cross. Simon of Cyrene, a bystander, was commanded to help Him carry the cross to the place of crucifixion. And then, this Carpenter who Himself had driven many nails, had the equivalent of railroad spikes driven through His hands and feet.
Jesus’ cross was then lifted up and dropped into the ground, shaking His body violently.
From the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
In that moment, something legal, something spiritual, something eternal happened. Jesus traded places with us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Adam and Eve, in the Garden, substituted themselves for God and introduced sin to mankind. But here, in this place God substituted Himself for us, defeating the power of sin.
Then Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” and then He died.
His last words might have been hard to understand, but they were triumphant just the same. Salvation through Him was available. It was finished.
Jesus died on that Friday, paying the price for our sin.
His mother cried. His disciples scattered. His enemies laughed. His followers mourned.
It happened on a Friday. Christ was killed on a Friday. God displayed His love on a Friday.
Here’s a copy of our 2019 Good Friday Service Script. You may find this helpful for Good Friday services, Communion Services, or any service that focuses on the cross.
Opening Worship Set
Suggested Song – Grateful
Suggested Song – Death Was Arrested
Suggested Song – Living Hope
Turn and Greet/Bumper
Welcome/Explanation of Service/Communication Cards
Thank you for coming this evening. Tonight’s service is totally focused on the cross of Jesus and all He did for us. We’re going to look back in time and then reflect on our own lives before we share in communion together at the end of the service. Before we begin our journey, we’re asking everyone to complete their communication cards. We’ll collect them at the end of tonight’s service. But first, before we begin, we’re going to receive our offering. Some people here have already given online and some are preparing to give right now. However you are giving, thanks so much. Let’s pray and then we’ll continue on with tonight’s service.
Transition Video (adapted from Andy Stanley’s book “Irresistible.)
Construction on the Roman Colosseum began in AD 72 during the reign of Emperor Vespasian and was completed in AD 80 by his son Titus. It held over 50,000 people. That’s roughly 79% of of the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome. That’s a pretty big arena for first century technology.
Nearby is the site where Nero’s circus once stood. This was the place where the first state-sponsored persecution of Christians took place. In the summer of AD 64, the city of Rome burned for six days and seven nights, consuming almost 75% of the city. Many Roman citizens blamed Emperor Nero, claiming he set fire to the city for his own amusement. Nero denied this accusation and claimed the fire had been started by the Christians who did not worship the Roman gods yet instead followed a King named Jesus. He set out to persecute the Christians and torture them in Nero’s Circus. It was there that the Christians were first dressed as animals and fed to the lions.
But the larger site, where the persecution of Christians continued, was the Colosseum, which soon became the symbol of the strength of the Roman Empire and its king. Spectators entered and exited the Colosseum through 80 arched entrances. 76 of these gates were numbered and allowed the general public to exit within 10 minutes. The remaining four unnumbered entrances were the emperor’s gate, two VIP gates, and the gladiator gate. Guests today are ushered in through the emperor’s gate.
And every single person who enters the Colosseum walks directly toward an enormous wooden structure that Pope Benedict XIV had placed there in the eighteenth century. By that time, the Colosseum had fallen into disrepair. Everything of value had been stolen and vagrants lived in the lower levels. Town planners, for safety, decided to tear down the entire structure. But to keep this from happening, Pope Benedict declared the Colosseum as a sacred monument dedicated to the suffering of Christ. As a part of his declaration, he commissioned the construction of an enormous cross to be hung over the emperor’s gate to commemorate the Christian martyrs who had died in the Colosseum and in Nero’s Circus.
When you see the Cross of Jesus in the Roman Colosseum, you are faced with the reality that the gospel is the power of God. The contrast is staggering. Here are two symbols representing two kingdoms – the Roman kingdom and the kingdom of God. In the end, the kingdom of the Lord prevailed.
The Roman Empire is no more. The Colosseum, once marveled at by man as a sign of Roman strength is now a tourist destination where the central attraction is the Cross of Jesus. The symbol that once represented the most horrible kind of death represents eternal life. The cross, the symbol of our King’s plan for our salvation and His own victory over death, hell, and the grave.
Praise be to our King.
Sermon – THE KING
We are here today to celebrate our King.
King Jesus lived like no other king because He was a King like no other.
Before Jesus was born, wise men from Eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking:
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
Expound on scripture:
“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis
Jesus was born in a place reserved for animals and was wrapped not in fine linen but in cheap strips of material. He was placed not in a prince’s cradle, but instead was lain in a manger, the feeding trough for the livestock. This wasn’t the typical birthplace for a king, but Jesus is no typical king.
Jesus Was Born Like No Other King
When Jesus entered the City of Jerusalem, He fulfilled prophecy by telling His disciples: “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.’” (Matthew 21:4-5)
Expound on scripture:
“I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master.” – John Newton
Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem on a white horse, showing himself off to the world. Instead, He purposefully rode on a young donkey, showing how humble He truly was. Kings aren’t typically known for their humility, but for their pride. Jesus personified humility in everything He did.
Jesus was God and deserved to stay in Heaven. Yet out of His great love for us, He chose to come to earth as a human. He even chose to obey God to the point of dying an embarrassing and painful death on the cross for our sins. Jesus is the perfect example of humility.
Jesus Was Humble Like No Other King
Jesus was arrested and brought before Pilate, the Roman Governor.“Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked Him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.” But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against Him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.” (Matthew 27:11-14)
Even when Pilate tried to make a way to release Jesus, it didn’t go well. He had a custom where he would release one prisoner a year at Passover. He asked the people to choose between Jesus and a thief named Barabbas. They chose the thief.
Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?” (Mark 15:12)
They shouted back, “Crucify Him!”
Expound on scripture:
Jesus is God. He is the Ultimate Judge. He lowered Himself to be judged by Pilate in order to carry out the will of His Father.
Jesus Had A Trial Like No Other King
Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:27-31
After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:32-44)
Expound on scripture:
In their mocking of Jesus, the Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on His head and a reed stick in His hand as a scepter. The crown and the reed certainly caused Jesus pain, but even more, it caused intense humiliation before the people. The scarlet robe drove the point home even more.
The jeering crowd caused even more humiliation for Jesus. They were jabbing at him, hoping to elicit some response that would ruin His claims about Himself. They received none.
Jesus Was Humiliated Like No Other King
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”… Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45-46, 50-54)
Expound on scripture:
“It was not nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross; it was His unqualified resolution, out of love for His Father, to do His Father’s will-and it was His love for sinners like me.” – D.A. Carson
“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
Jesus Died Like No Other King Because He Was, And Is, A King Like No Other
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Speaker: (quoting video) Life with God is not about a religion. It’s about a relationship. Here at Celebration Church, we encourage everyone to know God personally.
When you first meet someone, you most often learn each other’s name. When meeting the Lord, most people realize that He already knows their name, but how are we to address God?
I mean, really, what do you call the Supreme, Ever-Present, All-Knowing Power in the Universe? Let’s explore that.
For thousands of years, there have been many names for God
He is Elohim, our Mighty Creator, who spoke and the worlds came into existence. (Showslide displaying the name “Elohim”)
God is called El Shaddaimeaning God Almighty(Showslide displaying the name “El Shaddai”)
He is YAHWEH, which is sometimes known as the only proper name of God. This name was revealed when Moses asked the Lord for His name. God answered by saying, “I Am Who I Am.”(Showslide displaying the name “YAHWEH“)
God is also called Adonai which simply means Lord(Showslide displaying the name “Adonai“)
There are many other names of God in the Bible reflecting on the attributes of God, but the name Jesus most often used when praying and teaching others to pray was Father.
(Showslide displaying the name “Father“)
The name Father was more descriptive than most other names because the word Father describes more than a characteristic of God. It describes a relationship.
Think of all a Good Father is and that describes who God the Father is to us. He is our Provider, our Shelter, our Forbearer, our Wise Ancestor. He’s given us Life, Protection, and Nourishment. He’s our Source, our Sire, our Parent. No matter if you call Him Padre, Papa, or Daddy, He is our Father. Our Good, Good Father.
(Soft music from one instrument continues to play as speaker continues)
THE NAME OF JESUS Section
Speaker – God, our good, good Father, patterned mankind after Himself because He desired a personal relationship with each person. However, man’s sin created a problem. You see, God is so good and so Holy that sin cannot exist in His presence.
In fact, we learn from the first part of Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death…”
(Show Romans 6:23a slide as it is being read)
Basically, it’s saying that the punishment for our sin is death. With that being said, it sounds as if we are doomed. However, Romans 6:23 also continues to say, “But the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord.”
(Show Romans 6:23b slide as it is being read)
So God provided a way for us to be forgiven. But how can this be? Why would He do such a thing? Because our Good, Good Father loves us.
The Bible actually says in Romans 5:8 – “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
(Show Romans 5:8 slide as it is being read)
Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He took our place and endured the punishment that we should have received.
Taking this punishment is the reason Jesus was born in the first place. It’s how He got His name. An angel appeared to Joseph and said, “You are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
(Show Matthew 1:21 slide as it is being read. Music switches to minor key)
However, the punishment He took for us was serious, painful, punishment. John chapter 19 describes much of this torture Jesus endured in detail.
(Stagehands uncover table. Music continues)
Speaker: “Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.” (John 19:1)
(Show John 19:1 slide as it is spoken)
(Speaker goes to table and examine lead-tipped whip. Holds up the whip for all the see)
Speaker: Jesus was beaten at least 39 times at the whipping post. The whip lashed His shoulders, back, and legs, cut through His skin and tissue, and caused blood to ooze from His capillaries and veins. The lead tips produced deep bruises which were broken open by subsequent blows. Many who were sentenced to crucifixion never made it to the cross because they died during the flogging.
(Speaker returns the whip to its place)
Speaker: “The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head,” (John 19:2)
(Show John 19:2 slide as it is spoken)
(Speaker holds up the crown of thorns and examines it while speaking)
Speaker: The main purpose of the crown of thorns was for the pleasure of the mocking guards, who thought it was hysterical that Jesus should call Himself a king. The guards formed the crown from thorns of a nearby plant. They shoved it down on Jesus’ head so that it would not fall off during the crucifixion. The humiliation of the crown continued throughout His crucifixion. Every step Jesus made towards his own death, His followers saw the crown of thorns. His enemies pointed and laughed and continued the mocking.
(Speaker Return the thorns to the table)
Speaker: “So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called the Place of the Skull. There they nailed him to the cross.” (John 19:17-18a. Show slide as scripture is being read)
(Show John 19:17-18a as it is spoken)
(Speaker picks up the nails and holds them at arm’s length toward the people)
Speaker: Imagine the soldiers stretching one of Jesus’ arms out and nailing His hand to the cross.
(Speaker hits two of the nails together three times)
Speaker: Think about the soldiers stretching Jesus’ other arm out and nailing His other hand to the cross.
(Speaker hits two of the nails together three times)
Speaker: Picture the soldiers placing Jesus’ feet one on top of the other, and driving a nail through them.
(Speaker hits two of the nails together three times)
Speaker: The soldiers raised the cross and Jesus hung there for everyone to see. It was there that Jesus, the Son of our Good Father, who received His name because He would save His people from their sins, died.
(music stops abruptly)
Speaker: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”(Show John 3:16 slide as it is read)
Communion Intro – We’ve shared tonight about the love of our Good Father and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. Now, together, let’s take time to commemorate what Jesus did for us on the cross by observing communion together…
Many churches, including ours, have found a renewed interest in celebrating Good Friday. In many ways, since Easter has become more of a reaching service (which I believe it should be), Good Friday has become more of a Believer’s Easter Weekend Service.
At Celebration Church, many found this year’s service to be extremely meaningful and a few have asked me for the outline. It’s included in it’s entirety below. Let me know if you have questions, comments, or suggestions for future services.
2015 Good Friday Service Outline
Pre-Service Music and Slides
Song – 5
Good Friday? video plays as soon as people are seated – 3:16
Suggested Song – “Your Love, So High”
Welcome – Greeting/Communication Cards/Prayer – 3 (Instrumental music continues)
Campus Pastor or Campus Representative: 5
When many of us think about the Last Supper, we envision Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper painting (fresco) which he finished in 1498. (Show image of fresco)
The original work was 15’ x 29’ and took 3 years to complete.
It was not painted on the ceiling or walls of one of the grand cathedrals of the day, but instead was painted on the wall of the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The modern translation of a refectory is a dining hall. In fact, the tablecloth, knives, forks, glassware, and china were all similar to those in use by the monks residing in the monastery in that time period. It was almost as if Leonardo da Vinci wanted those dining to feel as if they were dining with Jesus, helping them realize that what He did for them so many years ago was still relevant in their world.
The body and blood of Jesus, offered up to pay the price for the sins of the world, is relevant to us in the 21st century as well. He gave His life for us so that we might live with Him and in Him and He in us.
The monks in Milan must have felt like Jesus was right there with them as they ate every meal. Tonight, we are going to celebrate a meal together, just as the disciples did and as the monks in Milan did, and Jesus will be right here with us as well. We know that He is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere, so we know He is with us right now.
Before we celebrate communion, let’s celebrate His presence with us tonight. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to be present with us even now.
Suggested Song about the presence of the Lord – 5 – “Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here”
Spoken – The Bible says this about the night of the Last Supper…
Scripture: – Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover Lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”
“Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.
He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters,say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.”They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there. (Luke 22:7-13)
Spoken: What happened then might have looked something like this:
(Play first 4 minutes and 9 seconds of video)
(Music begins as soon as the video ends)
Intro to the Lord’s Supper: – 4 He has kept that promise to us. Tonight, we are going to remember the Lord’s death for us as He commanded us in that moment we just saw portrayed.
(Give instructions on coming forward to receive)
Serving of the Bread/Juice with song (Consider using real unleavened bread and juice. Have a table onstage with the bread and the juice for the campus pastor.)
Time of personal examination and reflection – 3 – (Something like this) The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11 that we should examine ourselves before eating the bread and drinking the cup. You see, on the very night He was betrayed, Jesus, knowing what was about to happen, gave bread and wine to his disciples and taught them that it represented His body. So, now, when we partake of the bread and juice, we proclaim, we remember, we celebrate His death, until He returns. So now, if you would, please hold up the bread and the juice before you. Look at them. They represent the body and blood of Jesus. Now, take a moment and think about your own life. Is there anything you need to get right with the Lord before you participate in the Lord’s Supper?
(Music plays while the Campus Pastor gives the people a moment to examine themselves)
Taking of the Bread/Juice with song which continues after the Lord’s Supper is taken and prayer is said – 3
Say: That same evening, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While he was there, he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, who led Roman soldiers there so they might arrest him. He then went through a mockery of a trial, was publicly flogged, then sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Read: “Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called the Place of the Skull. There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews… Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.” John 19:17-20, 28-30
For The Cross Song by Brian Johnson – Special Video Song Presentation with scenes of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. (We downloaded the multi-tracks straight from Bethel Music and set them to a video which presented the words in a creative way mixed with scenes from the crucifixion.) Here’s a link to the song by itself: –
Message – IN A MOMENT
Spoken: At the time of Jesus’ death, it must have seemed like the purpose of his life was unfulfilled. Fortunately, in that moment, God provided 3 miraculous signs, pointing toward the ultimate miracle which would take place on Sunday.
At the moment of Jesus Death: God Ripped The Temple Veil In Two
“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom…” Matthew 27:50-51
In the temple, behind the veil was the Holy of Holies, the innermost sanctuary where the ark of the covenant rested. Filling the Holy of Holies was the Shekinah glory of God, the visible tangible presence of the Lord. Only the high priest could enter and only once a year and then only to offer the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of Israel.
The veil was massive and was designed to separate man from the presence of God. It was sixty feet high, thirty feet wide, and ten inches thick. It was so heavy that it took 300 priests to hang it.
The very moment Jesus died, this curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, as if it were a piece of paper.
(Show image of veil torn in two)
This could only be done by God and is a sign that the way is now opened for anyone and everyone to enter into the presence of God through the sacrifice of the Messiah.
At the moment of Jesus Death: God Shook the Earth, Split Rocks, and Opened Tombs
“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment…The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened.” Matthew 27:50-51
The second miraculous sign was a supernatural earthquake and the splitting of rocks which must have created much devastation around Jerusalem. God was making another statement about Jesus to the world.
It reflected the “earth-shaking” revelation that had just taken place with the splitting of the curtain. Through the death of the Son of God, the way had been cleared for sinful man to enter the company of the holy God. Centuries before, when God gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, the earth shook because the Law was meant to shake people up. Here, the earth is shaking again—this time not to shake man up, but to shake him loose. To get him to wake up from his sin and sleep of apathy. We can be free! The sin that enslaves us has be paid for and forgiven. The veil is rent. Redemption’s price has been paid!
Because of the earthquake, the tombs were opened and deep fissures were created. The death of the Savior had and is still having a splitting open of tombs impact on mankind. Those dead in their sin can now escape their living death.
The splitting of the rocks and the resulting opening of tombs was evidently a preview of the final resurrection, guaranteed by the imminent resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
At the moment of Jesus Death: God Raised Holy People From the Dead
“At that moment…the bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” Matthew 27:51-53
These saints appeared to many as confirming witnesses to the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Their appearance in bodily form testified to Christ resurrection and to God’s promise to raise all those who put their trust in Christ.
These chosen saints who were resurrected after Jesus arose on Easter Sunday began to walk around the Holy City. What a sight it would have been to see people who had been dead for years walking around Jerusalem.
After seeing all of these things, “The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54)
Paul summed it all up when he wrote the following words about Jesus:
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:6-11
Are you ready to make that decision today?
Decision Time and Song –
Suggested Song – Chorus of “We Thank You For The Cross”