A Service of Remembrance
Good Friday, April 9, 2020
Good Friday marks the death of Jesus Christ. It’s called “good” because without his bodily death, the full plan of God for the redemption of the world could not happen. Jesus himself said he must die by crucifixion so that Scripture would be fulfilled in him.
It is good to remember, to take a hard look at the events of this day and see God’s design and desire for salvation. It is good to walk through this difficult day with the help of the Spirit in order to experience God’s love and determination to rescue prisoners of sin. It is good to affirm the substance of our faith: the mystery, power, and significance of Jesus’ death, which was simultaneously an atoning sacrifice for sin, a picture of divine glory, an example of perfect self-giving love, and a surprising means of conquering evil.
It is good to worship on this day.
Open with prayer
Use this time to thank God for this grief-filled, sorrowful, beautiful day.
Read the account of the day’s events in John 18-19.
Or, read Colossians 1:15-22
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
The Power of the Cross
If you are with others, you may want to read these lines aloud together.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from
saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
If you are with others, you may want to take turns read sections aloud.
my servant shall act wisely,
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely, he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the
chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of
the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish
of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Man of Sorrows
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 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.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.
Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 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!”
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “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. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Good Friday Sermon
Rev. Alex M. Burgess IV
Ward Hill Church of Christ the King, Ward Hill, MA
We welcome Pastor Alex and all those from Ward Hill who may be joining with West Church for this service of Good Friday.
How Deep the Father’s Love
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the in most place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Assurance of Pardon
In Christ, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile all things to himself, whether on earth or heaven, by making peace through the blood of the cross.
And you who were once separated from God he has now brought close because of the finished work of Christ Jesus, so that you, may be presented before God as holy and blameless. Christ, the just, died for you, the unjust, so that, in him, you may be cleansed and pardoned.
Brothers and sisters, through the cross of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit, we are forgiven and reconciled to God the Father.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Offer your own prayers to God for whatever you want to express to God for this day. He is your refuge and strength. It is he who loves you with an everlasting love. It was his heart to send Jesus for your sake.
Jesus Christ is the sure source of our peace.
May we never boast except in the cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Go in the assurance that Jesus has bought our peace in God.