Theme: What’s so ‘Good’ about Good Friday?
Approximate Time: 20 – 30 mins
Christians all over the world will today be marking this solemn day when Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, was crucified for the sins of the world. Today I invite you to carve out time to reflect on this as the sad and shameful event that it was. This session will be more meditative and reflective, giving you the space to really consider the suffering that Christ went through on your behalf. But, through the pain, it is also a day of hope, glory and victory as today is the day that Christ pays the price for sin so we can have a fresh relationship with God.
Icebreaker: Pause for thought
Take 2 – 3 minutes to find somewhere quiet and just sit in silence. While you do, picture yourself at the crucifixion scene. It may help to imagine yourself as one of the characters from the story; a family member, Mary (mother of Jesus), the disciples, a roman centurion, one of the thieves on the cross, etc. How would that person have felt? What would have been some of the emotions involved in the day? Imagine, as Jesus walks to the cross that he looks at you and sees your most broken and sinful side. What is it that he sees? Take a moment to be aware of the things you need to say sorry for
Examination of conscience
An examination conscience is an opportunity to reflect on your whole self, with a view to asking God for forgiveness for the areas where we struggle. You may wish to use the following as an opportunity to reflect on what areas of your life you need to change. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus calls us to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength’. Against this command, how much do our lives show that we love the Lord
‘My command is this: love each other as I have loved you’ John 15:12
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’
‘My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you’
Read Matthew 27, the account that takes us from Jesus before Pilate all the way through to the death and burial of Jesus.
For me, Good Friday has always been a difficult day. It has always just felt heavy as the realisation of what Jesus went through on our behalf somehow seems so much more real. Thankfully, as Christians, we now know that there is hope beyond Good Friday – in just an extra two days we will be celebrating the resurrection and Jesus’ victory over death and sin.
But that’s to come. For today it is important that we stop and reflect on the horror of what Jesus went through. Why? Because unless we understand how much suffering Jesus endured we can’t fully understand the depth of his love for us. Or the seriousness of our sin. It can be so easy to assume that our sins don’t matter, that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that bad or it will all be ok. But the point is, it does matter. Our sinful habits are harmful and do damage us and there was a price for that. It required Jesus, the sinless and innocent one to be beaten and betrayed, falsely accused, whipped and scorned and finally nailed to a cross and left to die. And at the end of all that God still loved us. Jesus cries from the cross ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’ and then as the temple curtain is torn in two, God removes all barriers between us and him. The message of the cross is that God still loves us and still wants a relationship with us even though the price of that is the death of His Son. This is Good News, that our sin has been paid for, we can now be free and can have a personal relationship with God again.
But as Paul writes;
‘What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?’
As we reflect on the sadness of the day, it should give us a sense of urgency to deal with the things that are messy, impure or sinful in our lives. We acknowledge our weaknesses and cry out to Jesus for help, aware that apart from him we can do nothing. And, we can be confident that through the cross, he will destroy our sins so that, as he rises again we can also be born again as new people who are capable of living by his spirit. So yes, Good Friday is a sad day and should make us pause and reflect. But because of what it achieves, freedom from sin and a fresh start with God, Good Friday is also a good day, a very, very good day
Engage in some creative response to the cross. You may want to either;
1. Draw or paint a picture of the crucifixion scene
2. Write a poem or an acrostic (Using the word ‘Cross’) expressing your reflections on the death of Jesus
3. Write a set of prayers for people around you. You may want to think about praying for your family, friends, those in your community, our government, those in need and those who don’t know God
4. Write a thank you letter to Jesus, thanking him for what he went through during the Passion
To finish, play the following song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrgl9z3grKU
It is worth going the extra mile on Good Friday in order to try and gain an extra perspective on what it is Jesus went through. Consider engaging with at least one of the following;
· Fasting – skip a meal or give up chocolate, biscuits, sweets, etc for the day
· You may want to consider having a day technology free – No phone, no TV, no games consoles, etc
· Take some extra quiet time, join the church service on Zoom between 2.00 – 3.00pm or just take a period of time in silent reflection (At least half an hour)