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Good Friday reflection...
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Take time this good Friday to pause and work your way slowly through this reflection on the crucifixion...sit in the darkness of Friday and anticipate the light of Easter Sunday
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Since the Jewish Day began at sunset, we begin with the Passover meal eaten the night before.

Luke 22:14-23

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
My song is love unknown
The action moves from the Upper Room to the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.

Luke 22:39-46

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Pray
Take time to praise Jesus for his obedience to the Father, at such cost.  Ask him to help develop similar obedience to God’s will in your own life.

Jesus is then arrested and betrayed.

Luke 22:47-53

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
Notice again his refusal to resist arrest. This is not weakness, it is an extraordinary strength of character which sees him stick to his mission to be our Saviour. What about his followers?  Would they be as faithful as he was to the Lord they followed?

Luke 22:54-62

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Pray

Heavenly Father
Your word celebrates that you are full of love and faithfulness.  How often these were tried by your people, yet you never wavered and we thank you that although we are faithless, we can depend upon your love and faithfulness completely.

Lord Jesus
The gospel records your love and faithfulness to the Father in fulfilling your mission, even to the point of death.  We are in awe of your commitment to honour your Father, and to rescue us from sin and death, even though it cost you your life.  We worship you with humble joy.

Holy Spirit
Your work brings life to new birth in our hearts. Through you our relationship with all the persons of the Godhead is made real.  Not only so but you pursue your faithless people, working in us to produce godly character, marked by love and faithfulness, despite how often we pull in the opposite direction.

We find ourselves often more like Peter than like Christ.  By our words and actions, or perhaps the lack of them, we deny the Christ who gave himself for us in love and faithfulness.  We confess to you our sin and its shame. Lord have mercy upon us.  We have let you down, we do not deserve that you should restore us to a relationship with yourself, but we plead that you will, not because we are worthy, but because of your character and for the honour of your name, the God of love and faithfulness.  

Teach us to love you as we should, and move our hearts to desire to be faithful to you above all things, as later you worked in the life of Peter.  

In your name, Amen.
Those who opposed Jesus knew the verdict they wanted; they simply needed a trial to provide the legal cover.  What follows are three trials and a sentencing which was the very opposite of justice.  Yet as you read on you notice that clearly Jesus had done nothing worthy of death, he was an innocent man.  Notice also that he does not plead for his life, nor seek to defend himself.  He has come to Jerusalem to die; it is his love which leads to his death, not their hate.  When Pilate pronounces his verdict, it is he, the Roman Governor who is weak and propelled by events, whereas Jesus is strong and walking the path he has chosen with bravery.

Luke 22:66-23:25

At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
Man of sorrows
Crucifixion was a death so cruel that the Romans would later abolish it as something too harsh even for the worst of criminals.  Yet it is not the ugliness of his death that is so vivid, as much as the greatness of the love and mercy of Jesus as he died.

Luke 23:26-43

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
    and to the hills, “Cover us!”’
For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
There is a fountain
Luke 23v44-56

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

How we can pray for you...

If you have specific prayer requests, we'd love to be able to pray for you. Here are ways we can do that:
 

Intercessors

Our intercessors group, led by Jill Ashenhurst, take prayer requests confidentially and commit to praying for them for 30 days. These requests can be anonymous if you'd prefer.


Prayer Ministry

Our prayer ministry team are willing to phone you and pray over the phone with you.

To send prayer requests to the Intercessors or our Prayer Ministry team either send an email to prayer@knockpresbyterian.co.uk or phone the office and leave a message at 028 9079 4582

 

Ministers

If you want or need to speak to a minister please feel free to contact David or Dave

David: dmoore@knockpresbyterian.co.uk / 07707028312
Dave: dcurrie@knockpresbyterian.co.uk / 07835244008

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