Have you ever thought about what Jesus went through on Good Friday?
Matthew 26 describes the events from verse 17, where the disciples and Jesus are partaking in the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in preparation for the Passover Feast.
It's evening (Lets imagine that He kept similar hours to us, so around 8pm)and Jesus is sitting with His 12 closest friends, where He shares some news that probably did more to disrupt the flow of conversation than any of them could have expected.
In the middle of the meal, He declares:
"I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, Surely not I, Lord?
Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me."
It was Judas of course, the same disciple that had objected to Jesus' anointing with perfume earlier in the week. Jesus didn't judge Judas, He still broke bread with him and fellowshipped with him even though He knew what Judas was in the process of doing. Jesus Loved Judas.
First bombshell out of the way, Jesus then said that to fulfil scripture, the disciples would be scattered, leaving Him on His own.
Peter of course, denied that this would happen, then Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crowed again.
I can imagine Peter being outraged at such a suggestion, and possibly being hurt at the suggestion. Jesus didn't judge Peter. He broke bread with him. Jesus loved Peter.
I'm sure the mood among the disciples had changed a bit after the meal. Jesus took them out for a walk so that He could spend time with His Father. I like to think that Jesus spent most of His day in conversation with Father. I'm sure He was an early riser, speaking to Father before anyone else. I'm sure He discussed everything in His day with Father. He has such a close relationship with Father that it's impossible to imagine Jesus in any other way.
So when the group of 12 arrived at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was probably longing to spend some alone time with Father. He knew what was ahead of him and wanted to talk it over with the One who knew best.
The disciples were exhausted at this stage. They kept falling asleep, despite Jesus waking them up a couple of times. If they were Tired, Imagine how tired Jesus was too.
His betrayer arrived, kissed Him and handed Him over to those that considered Him an enemy.
Peter reacted and took a shot at one of the guards, chopping off his ear with his sword.
Jesus told Peter not to, and healed the man's ear. Jesus loved those who were against Him.
The disciples deserted Him and fled.
He was taken before Caiaphas and the chief priests. They found nothing against Him and had to listen to false witnesses who eventually said that Jesus claimed to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in 3 days. They asked Him if He was the Son of God. Jesus replied that it was true and the priests charged Jesus, The Son of God, the Great I AM, with blasphemy.
He didn't point out how ridiculous this charge was. He loved them.
The night wore on, Jesus spent this time in the charge of the guards who spat at Him, blind folded Him and told Him to prophesy. Jesus loved them.
Peter, during this time, denied Jesus 3 times and the rooster crowed. Peter wept bitterly. I can only imagine the depth of his despair at this time, he had denied the One who was everything to him. Jesus still loved Peter.
Night became dawn, Jesus had been awake for 24 hours by now. He'd been imprisoned, denied, betrayed, before a court and deserted by His friends since dinner.
He was then bound and sent to Pilate, who could find nothing wrong with the Sinless One. He washed his hands of the whole thing and ordered Jesus to be flogged. 39 lashes of a cat-o-nine-tails, a whip that had strands with bits of bone, nails and other jagged edges in it. This wasn't enough for the priests. They wanted Jesus to be crucified, so Pilate handed Him over.
Jesus loved Pilate.
The guards flogged Him. His back, shoulders, neck, legs and arms were sliced open by the cruel whip that was used.
They stripped Him and put a robe on Him. They stuck a crown of thorns on His head and yet Jesus didn't complain. They pretended to worship Him, spat on Him, hit Him, hurt Him, shouted insults at Him.
Jesus loved the guards.
They nailed Him to a cross. They hoisted Him up high and jolted it into the hole in the ground.
The weight of His body alone must have been agonising, yet that was a tiny part of what He was going through.
He had been betrayed, denied, abandoned, falsely accused, imprisoned, insulted, beaten, sliced open, spat at, stripped, laughed at....... Yet the hardest part was that He had been cut off from Father. Father had turned His back as it was something that Jesus had to do. Separated from the most precious part of Himself, and in that place, He had to carry every thing that was not of God from the beginning of creation until it's end. Sin, Lies, Murder, Rape, Sickness, Hatred, Greed... Everything that was not of God.
The words He spoke at His lowest time.... "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing."
Jesus loved them.
Good Friday is a time to remember what Jesus went through for each of us. When Jesus was ready, He gave up His spirit. He shouted
"IT IS FINISHED!"
And it was. And the life that was so abundant in Him, drained out of Him and raised many holy people from death. (Mt 27v52)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Jesus loved His disciples. He loved Judas, Peter, Caiaphas, Pilate, the Guards, Adam, Eve, Elijah......... You.
He still loves you. He'll always love you.
He loves you so much, He died for you. You were on His mind when all this was going on. He loves you more than He loves Himself.
That's what Good Friday is all about.