Good Friday  

On the very night of his betrayal, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. It was a meal of deep significance for the Jewish people – a reminder of how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. While his disciples were arguing about their importance in the kingdom, so soon to arrive, Jesus bent down to serve them, revealing how little they understood about the nature of his kingdom. (John 13)

Last Supper 


In Judas the religious leaders found the willing accomplice they were looking for to deliver Jesus into their hands.

It is perhaps most perplexing of all how Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ closest companions, one who walked beside him, ate with him, listened to him, witnessed first-hand the beauty of his compassionate life-- How this man could then turn around and betray so beautiful a life, so good a friend ... handing Jesus over to his enemies for a mere thirty pieces of silver.  (Matthew 26:14-16)

Judas’s Last Words 


Then there was Peter – the same Peter who had identified Jesus as the Messiah and who had pledged his utter devotion to him. Peter, when the crisis hit, failed miserably. Just a short time earlier, so full of bravado, he had brandished his sword against those armed men who had come to arrest his Lord. Yet, so soon after, fearful of being guilty by association, Peter could not even stand up for Jesus before the inquiry of a mere servant girl. He denied having anything to do with him.  (Mark 14:66-72)

“He who is not with me is against me…. Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this sinful and adulterous generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Those words of Jesus must have been pounding painfully in Peter’s memory early that morning as he realized what he’d done. (Mark 8:38)

Peter’s Lament  

Later on the shores of Galilee, at a place where Peter first met this man he both loved and denied, Jesus reinstated Peter as an apostle, and gave him the responsibility of caring for his followers.  (John 21)

Many years later, Peter would write from experience these words of encouragement to Christians suffering under Roman persecution: “If anyone suffers as a Christian let him not feel ashamed but in that name let him glorify God.” (1 Peter 4:16)

Such is the power of God’s grace in those who believe.


Pontius Pilate, (Roman governor over Judea) presided over the trial of Jesus. Roman law permitted only the Roman government to carry out executions, thus Jesus’ accusers brought him to Pilate. He assumed the authority, but in reality found himself powerless. (John 18:28-19:11)



Pilate tried to put the decision in the hands of the people. They could choose which prisoner should go free, and which should die. Jesus -- the so-called King of the Jews, or Barabbas – a true insurrectionist, who had incited riots and committed murder. The crowd chose Barabbas to walk free. I wonder… did Barabbas even give a second thought to the one executed in his place? (Luke 23:16-25)



Among those looking on was Simon from Cyrene, North Africa -- a pilgrim to Jerusalem for the Passover. He was just passing by and stood aside to watch the grim procession, when he suddenly found himself caught up in the center of it. The soldiers forced him to carry the cross for Jesus who was now too weak to carry it himself. As he accompanied the condemned man on his final walk, Simon must have learned this one essential truth: all of us must walk that road, and at the end of it we either pass the cross to Jesus or we keep it ourselves. (Luke 23:26)  

Simon of Cyrene  


As the soldiers led the bruised and bloody Jesus out of the city to the hill where he would be crucified, a crowd of people followed. Some jeered and mocked him, others mourned, and some were just curious onlookers. There was one group of women whom Jesus referred to as the Daughters of Jerusalem, who grieved deeply for this man who loved and respected them as no other man ever did. (Luke 23:27)

Daughters of Jerusalem 


There were two other prisoners crucified along with Jesus. One on either side. Both were convicted thieves. While they hung there, dying, one cursed Jesus. The other asked for mercy. (Luke 23:39-43)



With a loud cry Jesus died. The sky grew dark. The earth shook. Rocks split open. His executioners were terrified.  The Roman officer in charge had seen countless men die, but he’d seen nothing like this. (Mark 15:39)



Jesus died. But the story doesn’t end there.

Not everyone among the religious establishment hated Jesus. Two of their number earnestly awaited the arrival of God’s kingdom, and they saw signs of its arrival in the life of Jesus. Yet, they feared his enemies, so only secretly became his disciples. However, upon his death they sought to honor this righteous man by giving him a proper burial. So Joseph of Arimathea boldly asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, and, with the help of a man named Nicodemus, took the body down and laid it in a tomb. (John 19:38-42)

Joseph and Nicodemus