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”
Closing Song –