Today, followers of Jesus celebrate the paradox of "good" Friday. In the words of one author, it is "the ultimate paradox - at once atrocious and wonderful, scandalous and beautiful, the worst kind of hate and the best kind of love. On this day, we were convicted and pardoned, condemned and freed, cursed and blessed."
Good Friday, in unique ways to all our other days of worship, is a call to worship.
Call to Worship
Who 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 astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (ISAIAH 53:1-6)
In response, let us confess...
Gracious God, having heard your Word, we thankfully remember the life of our Lord Jesus Christ on this earth. Yet we also acknowledge our failure to respond earnestly and faithfully to his witness. We often mistake Jesus for a mere earthly king, friendly companion, or problem-solver, failing to see him as the ruler of all creation. We do not appreciate the depth of his passion and sacrifice on the cross, failing to acknowledge him as our way of salvation. Even in this Lenten season, we have not walked faithfully in the way of Jesus Christ. Forgive us, we pray, and bring us ever more fully into the joy of union with Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Taken from Journey to the Cross)
And let us remember what happened this day...
The following video, filmed in conjunction with the book The Final Days of Jesus, features short explanations from and interviews with historian Paul Maier and New Testament scholar Andreas Köstenberger, looking at the origin, object, and purpose of Roman crucifixion, along with one difference in emphasis between the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and John on suffering and glory.