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Good Friday (Service of Darkness)
- Jesus suffered the insufferable
- Jesus forgives the unforgiveable
SERMON TEXT: Luke 23:32-34
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Readings From: Lamentations 1:1-14
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts.
All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan,
her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.
Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.
All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion.
Her princes are like deer that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.
In the days of her affliction and wandering, Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.
Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her nakedness;
she herself groans and turns away.
Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.
“Look, O Lord, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”
The enemy laid hands on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.
All her people groan as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive.
“Look, O Lord, and consider, for I am despised.”
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?
“From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet and turned me back.
He made me desolate, faint all the day long.
“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together.
They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.”
SECOND LESSON: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness— so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
GOSPEL: John 19:17-30
Carrying his own cross, Jesus went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.