On the Cross
The account of Good Friday
A.D. abbreviates the Latin words "Anno Domini," which means "Year of Our Lord." Our calendars are all dated by the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every time we sign a check, send an email, write a letter, or tell what year we were born we are counting up from the birth of Jesus. While I fully understand and celebrate this calendar system, there is a sense in which our calendars should have started 33 years later.
As important and central as the birth of Jesus Christ was and is, the events of Holy Week were and are greater. Easter week is a Holy Week, a different kind of week. This is the anniversary of the events that determine our eternity. One week before Easter Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday, the day Jesus led a triumphant parade into Jerusalem. The following Thursday we commemorate the Last Supper when Jesus instituted Communion. Next comes Good Friday—"good" because of what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. Then comes Easter Sunday, the day death was defeated and Jesus rose to life.
Good Friday was an awful day for Jesus. He was tried, declared innocent, but condemned anyway. He was whipped almost to death and then led to his crucifixion.
Jesus didn't sleep the night before his crucifixion. On Thursday night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he almost died from the spiritual and psychological depression of bearing human sin. Early Friday morning he was whipped raw and bloody. It wasn't yet 9 a.m. and the soldiers were prodding him to his crucifixion.
Typically, the condemned prisoner was taken on the longest possible route through the city so many people could see him. His crimes were written on a board and hung around his neck or carried ahead by a soldier. When they arrived at the cross the ...
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Leith Anderson is pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).