Easter Meditations: Good Friday

Friday of Holy Week – Events and Passages:

Betrayal and arrest (after midnight?) – Matthew 26:47-56Mark 14:43-52Luke 22:47-53John 18:2-12

Jewish trial:

-before Annas: John 18:13-24

-before Caiaphas and part of the Sanhedrin: Matthew 26:57-75, Mark 14:53-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:19-24

-before full Sanhedrin: Matthew 27:1-2, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66-71

Roman trials:

-before Pilate: Matthew 27:2-14, Mark 15:2-5, Luke 23:1-5

-before Herod: Luke 23:6-12

-before Pilate: Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:28-19:16

Crucifixion (approx. 9:00a.m. to 3:00 p.m.): Matthew 27:27-54, Mark 15:16-39, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:16-37

Burial (evening): Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-54, John 19:38-42

Cross on Mount Lam Lam“True Contemplation of the Cross”

“Two texts in the Old Testament apply to Christ. The first is, “Thou art fairer than the children of men” (Ps. 45:2), and the second is, “He hath no form nor comeliness” (Isa. 53:2). Evidently these passages must be understood in differing sense. To the eyes of the flesh, he was the lowest among the sons of men, a derision, and to the eyes of the spirit there was none fairer than he. The eyes of the flesh cannot see this. What, then is the nature of this beauty? It is wisdom and love, light for the understanding, and power for the soul, for in suffering and dying Christ displayed all the wisdom and the truth with which the understanding can be adorned. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him, and they are hidden because they are visible only to the eye of the spirit.

The greater and the more wonderful is the excellence of his love by contrast with the lowliness of his form, the hate and pain of passion. Herein we come to know both God and ourselves. His beauty is his own, and through it we learn to know him. His uncomeliness and passion are ours, and in them we know ourselves, for what he suffered in the flesh, we must inwardly suffer in the spirit. He has in truth borne our stripes. Here, then, in an unspeakably clear mirror you see yourself. You must know that through your sins you are as uncomely and mangled as you see him there.

If we consider the person, we ought to suffer a thousand and again a thousand times more than Christ because he is God and we are dust and ashes, yet it is the reverse. He, who had a thousand and again a thousand times less need, has taken upon himself a thousand and again a thousand times more than we. No understanding can fathom nor tongue can express, no writing can record, but only the inward feeling can grasp what is involved in the suffering of Christ.” (p. 13-14)

Martin Luther. Adapted from Martin Luther’s Easter Book, edited by Roland H. Bainton. Copyright 1962 by W.L. Jenkins. Excerpted from Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, edited by Nancy Guthrie.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

By Isaac Watts, 1701

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

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