Holy Week: What is good about Good Friday?

How about some more family discussion on our journey through our series on Holy Week? Even though this day was full of sadness.

Remember: scroll down just until you see a “Time Out. Talk About…” question. Read the question with your group and allow everyone to share their answers. Scroll some more to see the answer. A good reason for computer time!

The judgment of Jesus

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Why do you suppose it’s called “Good Friday?” What can be good about the day Jesus died?

an empty crossActually there is no known correct answer to this question. The Friday before Easter being called “Good Friday” could have come from the shortening of an English phrase “God’s Friday” much like the word, “good-bye” originally started off as “God be with you.”

It certainly wasn’t a good day for the followers of Jesus back when it actually happened; they had to watch him be killed.

We can call it “good” because we can look back on the day Jesus died, from our perspective of knowing what happened on Easter!

But we are getting ahead of ourselves; there are still the events that happened on Friday of the very first Holy Week. When we left off yesterday, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Jesus was arrested in the garden, but what happened next?

Jesus had a long night. (It was late at night when he was arrested). He went through a series of trials, was beaten, whipped, spit upon, treated badly, and sentenced to die on a cross—a humiliating and cruel form of torture and execution.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble But why were the people who had Jesus arrested so determined to kill him?

The simple answer: Fear. (Unfortunately fear can result in hatred.) The Sanhedrin had ordered Jesus’ arrest. The Sanhedrin was a very powerful Jewish court made up of religious leaders. They were threatened by Jesus, his message and his popularity. The gospels portray the Sanhedrin as a group most interested in preserving their own power and position.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble What was it that happened with the man named Barabbas? (To hear how Barabbas is pronounced, go here.)

It was the practice at Passover to let one prisoner go free. Pilate (the Roman governor) offered to release Jesus, but the crowd demanded instead the release of Barabbas, a known robber and murderer. The gospels make it clear that Pilate did not believe that Jesus was guilty. But the crowd yelled, “Crucify him.” Pilate eventually succumbed to the will of the crowd and ordered Jesus to be whipped and then to be crucified.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble What does crucified mean?

Jesus was killed by a process called “crucifixion;” we say he was “crucified.” This is where a person is either hung on a cross or nailed to a cross (the latter in Jesus’ case). It was a horrible way to die. (Thank goodness we don’t do that anymore!)

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble (No right or wrong answers here!)

  • Have you ever been accused of something that you didn’t do? What happened?
  • When have you seen or heard about an instance of hatred that probably stemmed from fear?
  • When have you given in to the pressure of what the “crowd” wanted to do? How did you feel about this?
  • What do you suppose happened to Barabbas? (The Bible doesn’t tell us.)

Stay tuned for the next installment of our series on Holy Week.

Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives. The painting of the Judgment of Jesus was taken in Corfu, Greece. Unfortunately I failed to note the artist.
Speech bubbles via WPClipart.com, in the public domain.

Holy Week: The Last Supper and the Garden

It is Thursday and that means our post for today in our Holy Week series, focuses on Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Time to gather your family around the computer screen – scoot in close so you can see – for a quiz of sorts. (And a chance for some family discussion.) Remember, scroll just enough to see a question. Before scrolling further down, see if anyone knows the answer.

First, a picture of some kids reenacting the Last Supper.

The Last Supper enacted by kids

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Two questions: Why do we call it the “Last Supper” and they were celebrating some sort of special occasion – what was it?

It is called the “Last Supper” because it was the last time that Jesus and his disciples ate together before Jesus was killed. They were celebrating the Passover feast.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble The Passover feast? What is Passover?

A Hebrew paints blood on the lintel of a doorpost

Passover refers to when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. That is when the very first Passover occurred. God had brought a series of plagues on the Egyptians, to persuade the Pharaoh to free the Israelites so they could leave Egypt.

The last plague (out of a series of ten; that Pharaoh was a tough cookie!) was the plague on the firstborn; every first-born son was killed. The Israelites, however, were safe. This plague “passed over” their houses because they had been instructed to mark their door posts with the blood of a lamb.

God had told the Israelites that they should have a special meal every year afterwards to commemorate this saving event. This meal is full of symbolic foods that help the Israelites (and Jews today!) re-tell the story – and remember.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Jesus did something special at this meal, which we use today to remember. What was it that Jesus did?

Luke 22:19-20 tells us that during this meal Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying…

'This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!

After the meal he picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said…

'This is my blood. It is poured out for you, and with it God makes his new agreement.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Breaking bread… a cup… that sounds real familiar! I hear that when….

That’s right, Communion. When we eat of the bread and drink of the wine (we use grape juice) we are remembering Jesus.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Where did Jesus and his disciples go after they finished their meal? (Hint: the photo below shows)

Jesus prays as the disciples sleep, in the Garden of Gethsemane

They go to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knows that his time on earth is short. He is compelled to spend time with God in prayer. He asks his disciples to pray and he goes about a stone’s throw away to pray.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble What was he praying about?

With much anguish Jesus prayed…

'If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.  Matthew 26:39.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble (No right or wrong answers here!)

  • When Jesus spoke about his body and his blood, do you suppose the disciples understood what he was talking about?
  • What does Communion mean to you?
  • What do you make of Jesus’ prayer in the garden? What does it teach you about Jesus?
  • The disciples ended up falling asleep in the garden. How would you have felt if you had been there and had fallen asleep on the job?

Stay tuned for the next installment of our series on Holy Week.

Photo credits:
Last Supper and garden photos by Evans or Maria Koukios, © 2011, used by permission.
Passover clipart by Richard Gunther, sourced via ClipArt.com and used with permission.
Speech bubbles via WPClipart.com. Quote marks via Clker.com. The last two are in the public domain.