April 1, 2021
LENT – GOOD FRIDAY
SYMBOL FOR TODAY: Crown of Thorns, Cross
Matthew 27:27-44. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
These are very hard verses to read. The people who wanted Jesus to die wanted to hurt him physically, but they also wanted to humiliate him – to make him look like a fake to the people. They hurt him by beating him, but they also made fun of him by making a crown, but it was a crown of thorns that cut his head when they put it on him. They dressed him up to look like a king with the crown, a robe and a staff, but they did it out of hate. They did everything they could to break his body and break his heart. Death on the cross was a horrible death and it was usually used for people who had committed terrible crimes. Jesus had done nothing wrong – even the governor couldn’t convict him of any crime, but the people were determined that Jesus would be crucified.
Good Friday was an awful day for Jesus, but it is the day that we remember as the day that Jesus died for our sins so that there would be no barriers between us and God. It’s as if our sin is like a brick wall that we build up between us and God and by dying on the cross, Jesus knocked that brick wall down for all of us. That is the “good” part of Good Friday. We also know that on Easter we will celebrate Jesus coming back from the dead – nothing can defeat Jesus, not even death.
- Can you think of a time when someone made you feel really bad? How did it make you feel inside? If you can remember that then you know a little bit of how Jesus felt when all of those people were making fun of him and hurting him.
- How does it make you feel knowing that Jesus went through all of that because he loves you?
- Create a crown of thorns: Cut a piece of brown paper length-wise into three equal pieces. Make two equal, length-wise cuts almost to the end of each piece. “Braid” each of the three pieces, stapling the ends together. Staple the three braided pieces into a circle. Make small cuts around the crown to create “thorns”.
- Talk about the ways that the people hurt Jesus. Think about some of the things that we do to hurt each other – maybe by saying mean things to someone. Even when the people were laughing at Jesus and being so mean to him, he still loved them.