Connecting People to Christ

Easter Retreat 2023

April 7  |  April 8  |  April 9

Easter Weekend Devotional:

Good Friday

Remembering the Cost

The crowds cheered and shouted Hosanna. Palm branches lined the path. The King for whom they waited finally arrived. Their shouts echoed through the streets of Jerusalem. They were the first voices of the week, but they weren’t the last. (John 12:12-13)

Jesus heard so many voices that week. Praise. Love. Arguments. Pride. Betrayal. Condemnation. Denial. Fear. Sorrow. Those who loved Him most failed Him in scandalous ways. “How much will you pay me?” “Give me the best seat.” “I never knew Him.”

Let’s ponder a moment…

If we’d been there, what would our voices say? Would we beg for the best seat next to Him or let fear drive us to deny Him? Might we join the crowd in condemnation and cries to crucify Him? Yes. Any of that. Possibly all of it.

We were at fault and to blame. We all sinned, all fell short of His glory, His standard, and His love. (Romans 3:23) The problem isn’t an ancient “them,” it’s us. Every single one of us is a sinner and, together, we drove Him to the cross.

God had two choices in response to our mountain of sin – annihilate us or redeem us for all eternity. We deserved judgment and condemnation because of our sin. He chose mercy and grace instead. (Romans 8:23)

Love prevailed.

Good Friday is good because of the redemption bought with the holy blood that was spilled. There was nothing good about the way it was purchased. The pain, suffering, grief, darkness, and torment were vital in the total defeat of sin and death.

For today let’s use these Easter weekend devotionals to help us embrace His pain in order to understand, as much as humanly possible, the price of our salvation. It wasn’t bought by a bent knee at an altar or by a heartfelt confession. Our freedom was purchased with blood, agony, death, and tears from the One who loved us most.

“The name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.” Without Jesus dying on the cross, we would never know goodness. There is no salvation without the crucifixion. (Christianity.com)

The worship song “King of Kings” includes these lines:

To reveal the kingdom coming, And to reconcile the lost,

To redeem the whole creation, You did not despise the cross.

For even in Your suffering, You saw to the other side.

Knowing this was our salvation, Jesus for our sake You died.

Even in Christ’s suffering, he did not despise the cross; He saw the good in it.

While he was being mocked, beaten, and crucified, Jesus continued showing love. He asked his father to forgive us when we didn’t deserve forgiveness. Even when our crimes are on display, Jesus looks us in the eye and invites us to join him in paradise. (Luke 23:33-43)

Let today inform tomorrow.

If memory served us, we’d be reminded of His price every time we’re tempted to sin, to betray Him with our choices, to indulge our will instead of His. Today, let’s allow memory to do its work and flood us with the depths of God’s love.

Soak in the sorrow. Ponder the pain. Hold the hope at bay for just a bit and linger in the loss long enough to remember the price love paid. Sunday’s sweetness comes only after the sorrow of today. Stay here for a while and let the truth of that horrific Friday drive us to our knees and cleanse our hearts again.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Questions for Reflection: Today, I encourage you to read the crucifixion story and see what God reveals to you. Live it. Picture yourself with John and Mary at the foot of the cross. Hear the crowds. Allow yourself to grieve. Notice the hatred of men, and contrast the love of Jesus. Let your words be few today, and constantly ponder the sacrifice of Jesus.

Easter Weekend Devotionals Suggested Reading for today:

Luke 22:39-23:49

John 19:1-37

Isaiah 53:1-12

Matthew 26:47-27:56

Mark 15:1-41

Songs for reflection: