Today's Devotion - April 2

Good Friday

Following a betrayal by Judas, Jesus is arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. After a series of inconsistent testimony by witnesses, Jesus is condemned to die and handed over to the Roman Governor, Pilate. The Jewish nation was ruled by the Roman government and did not have the power to carry out a death sentence.

Mark 15:1-15

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

 

The Jewish people pressure Pilate to release another prisoner, Barabbas, and exhort Pilate to have Jesus crucified. Pilate has great reservations about doing this, not believing that Jesus has committed a crime deserving death. Matthew’s account is more detailed. (See Matthew 27:15-24) Pilate’s wife had sent him a message not to have anything to do with this innocent man. Despite his own convictions regarding Jesus’ innocence, Pilate gives in to the crowd and ceremonially “washes his hands,” declaring himself innocent of Jesus’ blood.

Mark’s account says it was the third hour (9 AM) when they crucified Jesus between two robbers. It was the sixth hour, noon, when we read these words:

Mark 15:33-39

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone.
Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”


By the ninth hour (3 in the afternoon) Jesus would take his last breath. The evil deed was finished and darkness had reigned for just a while.

Isaiah 53:5

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.”


2 Corinthians 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


The sinless Son of God had paid the price for the sins of the world. People scattered and Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (John 19:38-41). Everyone goes on with life there in Jerusalem and it seems this is now completely over. But it is only Friday!

With love,
Larry
 
Our Father, we humble ourselves before you as we remember the sacrificial death of Jesus. We think of his suffering, his pain and his agony. We are truly sorry for the sins we have committed that caused Jesus to die. Help us to remember that it is only Friday!
In the name of a risen Savior - Amen

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