We are here - Good Friday. The day we face the cold hard truth of what happened to Jesus. A day many do not like to face, talk about, or look at. Yet, without this most gruesome event, there is no resurrection, there is no salvation, there is no victory over sin & death. HALLELUJAH - THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED GOOD FRIDAY!
We read from Matthew 27 today that begins with Jesus being bound up and led to Pilate the governor for judgment. What an abrupt movement, however, from verse 2 to verse 3 as we are witness to Judas' suicide. Remorseful, deeply saddened, & filled with guilt, Judas returned the money & went and took his life. If he had only listened & heard what Jesus had been trying to teach - he could have found forgiveness in the one he betrayed. Have you, or do you know someone, been so overwrought with guilt you have felt like the sin is unforgiveable. The good news is - you cannot out-sin GOD!
The next several verses of Matthew 27 takes us through Jesus' trial, the judgment pronounced by Pilate, the beating, the mocking, & His body being placed on the cross. I would highly recommend that you read each of the Gospel writers' version of these events...each one speaks to events a little differently but they all bring the story together. One commentary I read points out something I missed in my readings. The religious leaders had arrested Jesus for blasphemy (claiming to be God), but that charge would have meant nothing to the Romans. So instead, the religious leaders had to come up with crimes that would have concerned the Roman government so He could be charged. Jesus was actually accused of things like encouraging the people not to pay taxes, claiming to be the king, & causing riots. Yet we all know now of the claims against Jesus were true. Pilate washes his hands of any responsibility in Jesus' death. Do we still try to do that today? We are all responsible - for Jesus died for ALL OUR sins. Ouch!
In verses 32-44, the chief priests & the teachers of the law mock Jesus & make attempts to tell Him (as He hangs on the cross) that if He really is who He says He is, well, He should be able to save Himself. If Jesus would just come down from the cross, well...….they would believe Him. What do you think? Would they have believed? We all know that was not the plan...we all know that Jesus could have called on the legions of angels to save Him...we all know He had to die on that cross.
As we read the passages about His death, we are saddened, maybe distraught. But we know the ending don't we? I am always amazed at the little symbolic parts throughout the Bible that we will never notice if we don't study. So in verses 45-56, we read of this agonizing death. We're told that for 3 hours, from noon until three in the afternoon there was darkness. It's at 3 that Jesus cries out & eventually gives up His spirit. It's at 3 in the afternoon that the innocent lambs lost their lives for the Passover meal - this occurred at the original Passover that we read about in Exodus, as well as the Passover that is taking place in Jerusalem - not far from the hill of Calvary where our own innocent Lamb of God gave up His life.
Verses 57-66 tell us of the finality of this event as Jesus' body is prepared to be laid in the tomb, the tomb is sealed, & guards are posted at the entrance. I leave you with this thought as you read through these Scriptures - come back for THE REST OF THE STORY!