By Pastor Andrew Poe
[Pilate] had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Mark 15:15-20
If you have seen Mel Gibson’s The Passion I am sure even now you can conjure up a picture in your mind regarding the torture Jesus endured on the day of his execution. Can you see the Roman torture devices? Can you smell the sweat and blood? Can you hear cries of anguish? Then, after the time of whipping and beating, Jesus was led away to experience one of history’s most horrible deaths: crucifixion. The Romans used this method of the death penalty to inflict as much pain, suffering, and humiliation as they could for as long as they could before the person died. They also lined streets with crosses to make sure as many people as possible could witness these horrible deaths so that everyone was reminded who was in charge.
But in the end – who really was in charge? Jesus knew what was coming. Jesus understood the great need for sinful men to be reconciled to his holy Father. Jesus desired to express his love for us through this sacrifice – not only the physical agony but spiritual anguish of seeing his Father turning his back on him. And so, Jesus was the one to intentionally take the steps for us and our salvation. As Hebrews says:
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2b-3
How can Jesus see JOY in any aspect of the cross? The joy Christ claimed was like that he spoke of in John 16:21... A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. And because of that JOY, we can call the day Jesus died “good”. The curtain in the temple was torn in two; earthquakes broke open tombs; holy people were raised to life! And in the end, Jesus called out those final words: It is finished. The true and final sacrifice was complete. Sinless Jesus – the one who knew no sin – became sin for us so that we could become righteous!
Thus – we at Covenant want to take time to remember this horrifically sad event on Friday. We want to create a venue where you can come and silently meditate on the various aspects of the crucifixion. Thus, when you arrive on Friday, you will have the opportunities to enter into the crucifixion story:
• There will be an area where you will touch various objects related to the crucifixion.
• There will be an area where you will hear the sounds of the crucifixion.
• There will be an area for quiet reflection.
• There will be an area for prayer and communion.
• Then, to conclude the time, we will come together for worship – expressing our thankful submission to the One who took such a punishment upon himself out of the love he has for us.
This experience is meant to evoke a somber response. We ask you participate quietly and respectfully. Because of its intensity, we ask that younger children do not attend. This experience is designed for children who are 10 years old and older. In the end, we hope all who come will be impacted deeply: leaving with a greater understanding of all Christ truly endured on our behalf.
Remember – Good Friday is GOOD because our Good and Loving Savior came to this earth to experience the excruciating pain of death and separation – exile – from his Father so we did not have to. He accomplished that which none of us could ever achieve: true and complete reconciliation. We who claim Christ Jesus as King are called sons and daughters! And as his children, we know that Good Friday was not the end – Sunday is coming!