Holy Friday

Good was a synonym for holy.

Holy week for Christians in America begins on Palm Sunday when Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem is remembered. People shouted Hosanna which means Save Us. The people believed Jesus was the long awaited Messiah because of the miracles he had performed. His latest miracle was just a few days before coming to Jerusalem when he raised Lazarus from the dead and the news created great excitement. The people had waited a long time for the Messiah and they hoped Jesus was him.

The Jewish leaders feared Jesus’s popularity because he taught that Jewish laws were very restrictive and were not what God desired. Jesus broke the laws by healing on the sabbath and he ate with tax collectors and people who were considered undesirable. In anger, he turned over the tables in the outer court of the temple because the money changers cheated people. Jesus referred to them as a den of thieves. He did this on the first day he entered Jerusalem and the high priests were furious.

Throughout the week Jesus taught in the temple and was carefully watched. When he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane he stated that he had taught all week and wondered why they were now coming for him. He was taken before the Sanhedrin which was the Jewish court and found guilty of healing on the sabbath, threatening to destroy the Jewish Temple and claiming to be the Messiah. The Jewish council found Jesus guilty and turned him over to Pontius Pilate who said he found Jesus innocent, but that was not what the high priests wanted. They encouraged the crowd to cry for the crucifixion of Jesus instead of Barabbas who was a convicted murderer.

Jesus was flogged and was so weak he could not carry the cross beam to Golgotha Hill where he was crucified. He died after six hours on the cross. Thousands of people were crucified by the Romans and at one point 500 a day suffered in this way. It is interesting to note that no Roman citizen was ever crucified.

Jesus arose from the tomb and his death paid for the sins of the people. Animal sacrifices were no longer needed to gain God’s forgiveness because Jesus paid for our sins with his blood. Easter is Jesus’s resurrection and I thank God for his son.

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