Good Friday, March 30
Scripture reading: Matthew 26.47-27.26
Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
— Matthew 27:14
When Jesus was brought before Pilate He didn’t fight back although He had the power to do so. Matthew 27:14 (The Passion Translation) says, “But Jesus offered no defense to any of the charges, much to the great astonishment of Pilate.” Instead Jesus relied on God, our strong Defender, to carry out His purpose, which is reconciling us to the Father. He peacefully obeyed the Father, doing what He was called to do. The Son of God could have walked away from His accusers. He could have fought His way out of the crowd, or even disappeared. He could have called on legions of angels who were always at his disposal (Matt. 26:53) but He did not. Instead, Jesus chose the cross knowing that His suffering and death were for our reconciliation, healing, salvation, and deliverance. The “bad guys” didn’t force Him to the cross. He endured the cross because of the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2). He obeyed the Father because of us—we are the joy set before Him!
For the past year, the preschooler I nanny has asked me endless “why” and “how” questions about Jesus and the cross. When we see anything that resembles a cross: from a crucifix in a church to the back of tow trucks with cross shaped beams, he frequently wonders, “Why did the bad guys put Jesus on the cross?” Over and over I explain that the bad guys didn’t force Jesus to die like the criminals of that day. Instead, Jesus chose to die on the cross. His surrender to the Father and His sacrifice are key elements in the story. Today, on Good Friday, as we remember Christ’s death on the cross by reflecting upon the scriptures describing the events that lead up to His death, we can learn much from His willingness and imitate His demeanor. We are after all called to “…be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us…” Eph. 5:1-2 (NKJV)
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit desired reconciliation between God and humans. Col. 1:20 (TPT) says, “…by the blood of his cross, everything in heaven and earth is brought back to himself—back to its original intent, restored to innocence again.” Jesus peacefully surrendered to the Father, relied on the Defender, willingly suffered, and forever changed our lives. Ultimately, Jesus’ obedience on Good Friday gave us an opportunity to be reconciled to God every day, no matter what we’ve done.
We are children of God because of Jesus’ choice to obey the Father and die for us. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t count our sins against us. His love holds no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13). We are restored to innocence again because of the finished work of the cross. As we imitate Him, we too can walk in love, trusting our Defender with peace-filled obedience, doing whatever He calls us to no matter how difficult, because He is the joy set before us!
special thanks to susan thompson
for her incredible job editing these devotions.
And we are very grateful for our contributing authors:
Palm Sunday - Marcus Harris
Holy Monday - Joel Fernandez
Holy Tuesday - Gina Green
Holy Wednesday - Bethany Pautrat
Maundy Thursday - Susan Thompson
Good Friday - Betsy Herman
Holy Saturday - Jordan Shimon
Resurrection Sunday - Cathy Harris