Holy Friday – 07April2023

Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13–53:12 | Psalm 22 | Hebrews 10:16–25 or Hebrews 4:14–165:7–9 | John 18:1–19:42

Theme: Our new life in Christ is grounded in Jesus’ humility, service, and self-sacrificial love which he expressed by voluntarily laying down his life for every one of us.

On this day of remembrance, Good Friday, we are reminded that we participate in Christ’s self-sacrificial laying down of his life, being broken and poured out on behalf of the Father’s beloved children. And we are reminded of how Christ’s ongoing gift being poured out in our hearts by the Spirit is meant to be shared with others by our own persons being broken and poured out for the Father’s beloved children through humble service, sharing, and giving.



Good Friday Reflective Service





Thanksgiving prayer to Jesus … for being present by the Spirit … for drawing everyone together … and for reminding us of all he has done;

On this day of remembrance, Good Friday, we are reminded that we participate in Christ’s self-sacrificial laying down of his life, being broken and poured out on behalf of the Father’s beloved children. And we are reminded of how Christ’s ongoing gift being poured out in our hearts by the Spirit is meant to be shared with others by our own persons being broken and poured out for the Father’s beloved children through humble service, sharing, and giving.

Today we reflect on Jesus, who willingly gave his life for our own. Jesus Christ, the One who came as God in human flesh, voluntarily allowed himself to be betrayed, falsely accused, beaten, and crucified for our sakes, even though it meant he would die and be buried. Even though at any moment Jesus could have walked away from his cross, he chose not to, because his cross was the means by which everything made by him and through him was taken through death into newness of life. What hope we have because of Jesus’ self-offering!

Today is a day to declare again that we were crucified, and we died with Christ. And because we share in his death, we participate in Jesus’ broken and poured out gift on the cross. As we read today’s gospel passage, let us consider anew what it means to fully participate in what Christ has done for us in laying down his life. Let us reflect on what it means that in Christ by the Spirit, we ourselves live broken and poured out for others.

John 18:1-14

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’[a] Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’[b] Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus[c] said to them, ‘I am he’,[d] they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’[e]Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he.[f] So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’

Jesus before the High Priest

12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

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  • Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Judas Iscariot, arrested, and falsely accused.

Each of the twelve disciples was personally chosen by Jesus. He knew them down to their core and he still loved them and included them in his ministry. Jesus knew Judas would eventually betray him, but even so, he knelt and washed his feet, and included him at his table, within his circle of disciples. Jesus expressed his Father’s love by the Spirit, including each person in that love, even though he knew they could betray him to the authorities at any moment.

Our participation in Jesus’ death includes our willingness to include others, even though they may turn against us or betray us. Christ’s life and love in us by the Spirit compels us to welcome and include others despite the risks involved.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit move you to include through kindness, humble service, or compassionate care those people you have previously tended to exclude from your relationships?Pause for reflection. 


John 18:15-27

Peter Denies Jesus

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ 18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing round it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

The High Priest Questions Jesus

19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’ 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ 23 Jesus answered, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter Denies Jesus Again

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

  • Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Simon Peter, who vehemently denied being associated with him.

How easy it is to say we are going to stand by Jesus until the end! This is what Peter told Jesus, but when Jesus refused to allow him to use his sword and he discovered his life was on the line, his assurance quickly oozed away! When the opinion of the people around him became more important than his loyalty to Jesus, what came out of Peter was violent denial and a refusal to be identified with his teacher and friend.

Part of our participation in the death of Christ is identifying with Jesus no matter the opinion of others. Drawing upon the Spirit of Christ living within we find the strength to stand fast, even when this means the people whose opinions we value most are turned against us. Our comfort is knowing that even when we fail to stand fast in our relationship with Christ, he holds on to us—his love for us never fails.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit change the way you respond to the opinions and preferences of the people in your life?Pause for reflection. 


John 18:28-40

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.[a] It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters,[b] so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ 30 They answered, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ 31 Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ 32 (This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters[c] again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34 Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35 Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36 Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37 Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ 38 Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’

Jesus Sentenced to Death

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him. 39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 40 They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.

John 19:1-16

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters[d] again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ 11 Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ 12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’

13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat[e] on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew[f] Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ 15 They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’ 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus;

  • Jesus was interrogated and flogged by Pontius Pilate, who found him innocent, tried to free him, but ultimately sentenced him to crucifixion at the insistence of the crowd.

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, and Peter denied Jesus. Now Pontius Pilate, the one person who had the power to free Jesus and who declared three times that he was innocent, ultimately chose giving Jesus up to be crucified over doing what was just and right. Even though his life was on the line, Jesus never ceased to speak the truth about who he was and why he was here on earth. He was not ashamed to be the Son of the Father, even though he knew it was going to cost him his life.

We participate with Jesus in his death as we stand up to human institutions and refuse to be intimidated by their demands that we sacrifice righteousness and justice for the sake of power, wealth, and the opinion of the people. As those who identify with Jesus in his sacrifice and death, our supreme loyalty is not to the state, but to the Lord himself, the King of the kingdom of God.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit be moving you to stand against unrighteousness and injustice in your church, your community, or your world?Pause for reflection.


John 19:17-24

and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[a] is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,[b] the King of the Jews.’ 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew,[c] in Latin, and in Greek. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.”’ 22 Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,

‘They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.’

  • Jesus carried his cross, was stripped naked and crucified with two criminals, with soldiers gambling for his clothing.  

It was bad enough that Jesus was flogged, tortured to the point of death, but then he had to carry his own implement of death up a hill to where he would be crucified on it. He was stripped down and the soldiers gambled to see who would get his clothing. Mocked and abused verbally, Jesus was torn apart in every way imaginable. The humiliation and vulnerability Jesus experienced in those moments must have been intense.

Our participation with Jesus in his death includes those times when we experience abuse, suffering, ridicule, mockery and rejection from others because we choose to live according to the truth of who we are in Christ. The apostle Paul said he counted everything loss for the sake of knowing Christ. This speaks powerfully about the value we place on Jesus and what it means to be broken and poured out for his sake.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit enable you to bear up under ridicule, rejection, or abuse because of identifying with Christ and choosing to live in the truth of who you are in him?Pause for reflection.  


John 19:25-27

And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27 Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

  • Jesus surrendered the care of his mother to his disciple, John.

With all that Jesus was experiencing, and how close he was to death in that moment, it is marvelous that he would make the effort to be sure that his mother was cared for after his death. How hard it must have been to give her up, the one who had borne disgrace for his sake, who had made the hard choice when Gabriel came telling her she would bear a Son named “Immanuel.”

Sometimes our participation with Christ requires the surrender of people or belongings we treasure. Our being broken and poured out may involve giving up relationships or life circumstances we value and do not want to give up.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit, enable you to surrender that thing you’ve been holding tight to that God has asked you to let go of?Pause for reflection.


John 19:28-30

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 

  • Jesus realized his work was done, drank sour wine, proclaimed “It is finished,” and gave up his spirit.

Jesus came to the end of his life, realizing that he had done everything the Father had asked him to do. Now it was time to declare that he had reached the end and to move on. In the midst of his intense human suffering, this giving up of his Spirit in union with the Father was an act of faith, of implicit trust. But he did not hesitate. He surrendered his spirit into the care of God and courageously entered death for all our sakes.

Our participation in Christ’s death includes our letting go of everything in this life that may be of importance or of value to us. There are times when we have finished what God has asked us to do, and we need to move on. Sometimes we are asked to let go of relationships, or jobs, or responsibilities, and to embrace new ones. We may not know what to expect, or how it will all work out, but we need to allow the door to close on the past, and we need to move on into the new life God has for us in Christ.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit be closing a door in your life and moving you to enter a world full of new possibilities and new relationships?Pause for reflection.

Thanksgiving prayer … to Jesus for laying down his life and pouring himself out for us


John 19:38-42


  • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus asked for and buried Jesus’s body in Joseph’s own tomb.

Joseph and Nicodemus had been secret followers of Jesus. They didn’t want to risk losing their position in the community, so they hadn’t let others know where they stood. But when Jesus died, they stood up, placing everything at risk for the sake of giving Jesus a dignified burial rather than allowing him to be thrown into a mass grave.

Sometimes our participation with Christ asks that we take a stand alongside those who are rejected or despised. We may need to step up and be known as “one of those” people who refuse to follow along with social expectations, who are willing to help the poor, the needy, and the outcasts.

Reflection:How might Christ’s love poured out in you by the Spirit be calling you to take a stand alongside those whom society rejects but Christ loves?Pause for reflection.

Thanksgiving prayer … to Jesus for the people he brings into our lives whom we can serve, and offering ourselves up to Christ to be broken and poured out as he was.


closing song




Benediction: Now may the God who sends you, sanctify you by his Spirit, keep you from the evil one, and fill you with his inexpressible joy, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  (John 17:13-19)






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