Good Friday Reflection
Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we praise You for the immensity of your love for us and lift your holy name high. And yet, even on this holiest of days we acknowledge the bridge between your will and ours. We confess our weakness to love and to embrace you, to follow your way, every day of our lives, and with sorrow and sadness accept that we often fall short of your standards.
Lord, forgive us we pray and encompass us once again in your love. And on this day we thank you and praise you for the assurance of that forgiveness, given through the death of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Saviour.
So come, be with us now we pray, that we may truly live for You in the name of our crucified Saviour. And all of this we ask in Jesus holy name…Amen.
Bible Reading John 17:6-19
As we come to Good Friday, without doubt the most solemn moment in the whole Christian calendar, in this passage from John’s Gospel we find ourselves in the middle of the prayer that Jesus prayed the night before he died. Yet I wonder how often we take the time to truly read it through, slowly and purposefully.
Jesus has just prayed that God will glorify Him, that God will reveal himself fully as the one true God, and will reveal once and for all His amazing and gracious love not just for Israel but for all people.
But Jesus now comes before the Father on behalf of all those whom the Father has given Him, offering a prayer of sanctification.
The Hebrew word for sanctification meant that something had been consecrated to God – given over to His use so that it became Holy. And on the cross, of course Jesus consecrated himself completely to God. He gave himself up to the Father’s will and took upon himself the shame, the failure, the sin, the agony, not just of Israel, but the whole world.
And He did so in order to bring them healing and to embody the love of God.
It is out of that vocation that he prays for His people. For those Disciples sitting around the table with him at that time. For Mary, Martha and Lazarus and for the many others who believed in Him and who followed Him whose names we do not know. People who had indeed caught a glimpse of God in Him.
And who were now living His way and waiting for the coming of the Kingdom.
Through His son God has revealed himself to all people. Jesus has revealed the Father perfectly – as one who is infinitely tender, strong to heal, gentle with the wounded and firm to the point of severity with those who oppose His will.
And as Jesus has done so, as he has revealed God’s character, He has found that God has given Him a new chosen people, the people through whom He will now bless the world.
God has chosen them, just as He chose Israel, and has given them to Jesus. And they now know and trust that everything that God has given to Jesus is indeed truly from God. Jesus has given them the words God gave to Him and they have received these words as truth. They have come to believe with all their hearts that God sent Jesus to them.
Throughout the farewell discourses we have seen how Peter, Thomas and others had still been puzzled and muddled – and still had questions. Yet the fact remains they had enough faith to be there and enough faith to cling on to Jesus. They had clung on in faith, despite their lack of understanding, believing that Jesus was indeed the one that God had sent. So now Jesus prays for them, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, His work would continue through them to touch the whole world.
He prays that God will protect them and that under the protection of God, they will be one – just as God and Jesus are one.
Next, Jesus bequeaths His joy to His Disciples, however, that promise of joy is accompanied by the warning that the world hates the people of God. That those who follow Jesus are bound to seem out of step with the world. A world which organises itself according to power, prestige, wealth and human status.
Yes, Jesus knows that just as the world hated Him, so those who follow Him will be hated. And so He prays that they may be protected from the evil one – but not only protected. Like Jesus, they are to be set aside for God’s use…sanctified in the truth that is God’s Word.
As God sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus is now sending His Disciples into the world.
So what does that mean for us today…
On this Good Friday Jesus’ prayer reaches out to encompass all of us who would come to kneel at the foot of the cross, to all of us who would dare profess His name and call ourselves Christians and His Disciples, that we too may be consecrated to the will of God…
That the work of God, uniquely accomplished by Christ, may now be implemented through us.
Now to us today that might seem somewhat daunting, even scary. Because as we look at the world we live in today, whilst we might be some 2000 years down the line, still today the world is all about power, prestige, wealth, influence and status – and it is just as corrupt than it was in Jesus day.
And like those disciples we too might feel puzzled and confused at times. When we see and read of so much that is happening in the world, we too might have questions and doubts – and we too might wonder just how on earth we are meant to fulfil our mission in a world such as this.
However, what we have to remember is this. Not only is this prayer as much for us as it was for Jesus Disciples back then, but more than this, that we will never be on our own.
Through the Holy Spirit the Lord will be with us and will always be interceding to our Father in heaven on our behalf.
So on this Good Friday let’s remember this prayer of Jesus and let’s now come to Him with our own simple prayer…
Help us, Lord Jesus, help us to watch and wait with You this day. Help us to remember your love for us and that, as you loved us to the end, in our love for You, we may we remain faithful to You and through you be consecrated to the Father’s service, that we may play our part in You work here an now. Amen…
Lord you loved the world so much that You sent your one and only Son, not to condemn this world, but that through Him it might be saved, and we who are quicker to judge than to bless fall silent at the extravagance of your grace.
Yet we acknowledge Lord, that this world is in desperate need. Every day thousands face death and illness through poverty and depravation, through oppression and injustice, through conflict and unrest and sadly through the wicked deeds of fellow human beings.
Lord be with every soul who suffers this day, whether that suffering may be physical, emotional or spiritual pain. Be with them Lord and heal them as only You can and restore them into your loving presence…
And help us we pray to be more aware of the needs of others. To look to encourage, support and help our neighbour when we can. To be less selfish and more self-less and to show love, peace and compassion to all who are in need and less fortunate than we are.
This past year has been one where there has been so much suffering and loss, so much pain and heartache and we ask that You would embrace all who need your comfort, healing and peace at this time. Let them know, Lord that You are there with them in all they are going through. We pray also for those here in our own communities, especially those who are sick or in mourning, and we ask Lord that your hand of peace be upon them…
And on this Good Friday, Lord, we pray for the church of Jesus Christ here on earth. Even now may it blossom and grow as more come to hear the Easter message this weekend. Keep alive in us the assurance of hope and peace that this day brings. That as your church here on earth, we may proclaim the message of Easter – each and every day of our lives. And all these things we ask in Jesus name, Amen….