The Mystery of Good Friday

After attending the services at our church last night, I am still speechless. Good Friday commemorates perhaps the greatest mystery in the history of the world. How is it that God Himself—the Creator of the Universe—can suffer death at the hands of His creatures?

Last night, our church observed the ancient service of the Twelve Passion Gospels. Though I have participated in this service more than twenty times, I never cease to be amazed—and deeply moved. I am almost always brought to tears, as I contemplate God’s extreme love for us.

The climax of the service comes in the procession of the Cross, right before the reading of the sixth Gospel lesson. The church is completely dark, with the exception of a few candles. Our pastor, carrying a large wooden cross, sings the following hymn during the procession:

Today is suspended upon the Tree He who suspended the land upon the waters. (thrice)

A crown of thorns crowns Him who is the King of the angels.

He is wrapped about with the purple of of mockery, who wrapped the heavens with clouds.

He receives smitings—He who freed Adam in the Jordan.

He is transfixed with nails, who is the Son of the Virgin.

We worship Thy Passion, O Christ. (thrice)

Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection!”

I hope that in the hustle and bustle of this week, you have the opportunity today to stop and reflect on this holy mystery and what it means for your life.

While it may be Friday, Sunday is coming. It was true in Jesus’ life. It will be true in yours. On the other side of suffering and death lies the hope of the Resurrection. This is our expectation and comfort.

Question: What does Good Friday mean to you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • SueB

    It’s a reminder to me of how much my Savior suffered on my behalf for MY sins. I cannot comprehend such Love.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    How beautiful! I’ve never heard of this service. Good Friday is a reminder that very soon the tomb will be empty. There is victory coming for all who name the name of Christ! have a blessed Resurrection Day!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it is part of the Eastern church’s tradition. We have been doing it for hundreds and hundreds of years.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Leah, neither have I. After hearing the song and reading this blog post, I may have to try to find a church around the area and check out this type of service.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I was thinking the same thing!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Good Friday and Easter are always special seasons in my life. It reminds us the purpose for which Jesus came to earth. And, the price he paid for redemption of human beings giving us the grace and hope to live in this earth.This time is special as God does great and incredible things to me us as a family.On our part, we should careful enough not to miss anything God has for us. Surely, it’s a time of fasting and praying for me.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Well said, Uma!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks Jeff!

  • Timothy Fish

    Well, since you asked, Good Friday actually aggrivates me because so many people think Jesus died on Friday. Simple math tells us that he couldn’t be in the grave “three days and three nights” and then rise on Sunday unless he was crucified sometime before Friday.

    • http://onecurveatatime.com Chris R. Smith

      I recently read a blog that talked about this. It pointed out that scripture says that He rose from the grave on the first day of a new week. Great symbol, a new week, a new beginning.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        In the church fathers, you something see Easter Sunday referred to as the eighth day of creation. It stands out of time. It ended the told week of sin, suffering, and death, and began a new week of healing, joy, and life.

        • Anonymous

          8 is the number of new beginning…so it makes perfect sense. I love reading your post and the comments from your readers. Thanks

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The problem with “simple math” is that it doesn’t always correspond with biblical math nor literary math. A good explanation is found here. We may just have a difference of opinion, but I will chose to side with almost the whole of Christendom in its commemoration of Friday as the day of the crucifixion. Thanks.

      • Karl Mealor

        Thanks for sharing the link. I can’t believe how many discussions I’ve heard/read over the past couple days about this.

    • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

      Timothy, Christ probably was crucified on Thursday morning. The Hebrews counted days from evening to evening, so the Sabbath day was Friday evening to Saturday evening. They also used the day before the Sabbath as the day of preparation, which was from Thursday evening to Friday evening. Now, listen to Mark 15:42-43, “When the evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came…and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.” This may be one instance of where tradition got it wrong.

  • http://eileenknowles.blogspot.com eileen

    Redemption, complete and undeserved redemption.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PaulEvansImpact Paul Evans

    It’s an awesome opportunity for us to use the attention of society to share our beliefs without the barriers that often exist on other days. Maybe this Friday is made even better when we share the story, not just reflect on what it means to use. Thanks for sharing Michael!

  • http://vesselproject.com Keiki Hendrix

    Good Friday… a remembrance of the cost of my sin and the love of my Savior.

  • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

    Good Friday is the cocoon before the butterfly.. Jesus made our lives eternal and free by subjecting Himself to such a death. I have made a decision that after our Good Friday service until Sunday evening I will not be on the computer (fasting from the Internet). It will be a time for family and friends and celebrating this wonderful life He gave us. Have a Happy Easter. Blessings, Jan

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The cocoon before the butterfly is a beautiful metaphor.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Jan, I never thought of it like that. Great comparison!

  • Sharon

    Thank you, Michael, for sharing this most beautiful ceremony. I wish my church did more on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. So, what does it mean to me? Well, it is hard to take in this level of suffering, is it not? More difficult to imagine that it was taken on out of love for us. It means everything to me. I watched my son Michael suffer for over four years, and I knew that, in part, he endured out of love for us as his parents. He simply did not want to leave us. Now that he resides in Heaven, I take great solice in knowing that Michael resides with the Lord. Easter Sunday is a day of redemption, and I imagine Michael in his renewed body, fully healed, rejoicing with the Angels at the mystery of Our Lord’s infinite love and mercy. How blessed we are to know this unconditional love, and, for me, it is a love that has gotten me through the darkest hour. Thank you for keeping us on our knees in remembrance of this most important mystery. A blessed Easter to you and Gail. Sharon Spano

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Easter is a great reminder that death is not the end of the story. There’s more. So much more to come!

  • Stephanie

    I heard recently that a possum never enters a hole in the ground unless he sees footprints leading out of that hole (telling him there is no danger in the hole). Good Friday reminds me of the painful and horrific sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf. He not only paid my debt but then resurrected to life! And so, I face death without fear because I see His footprints coming out of the tomb. Praise him!

  • http://twitter.com/rwanjema Richard Wanjema

    This weekend is also special to me, It was the time dedicated my life to Christ many years ago. Oh how He loves us!

  • http://twitter.com/davebaldwin Dave Baldwin

    Scott Williams posted a tweet with a link to the video, “Sunday is Coming.” It’s on his blog, but it’s a Youtube video http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/2011/04/21/sunday-is-coming/ It reminds me of how hopeless that Friday seemed. How much suffering Jesus went through for us all. It makes me love Him all the more.
    Blessings,
    Dave

    • Joe Lalonde

      Great video. One of our local radio stations plays an audio broadcast of this or something very similar. It’s pretty moving. Today they’re doing it at 3PM and 5PM Eastern Time. If you want to check it out, you can stream it at http://www.jq99.com.

  • Patlayton

    Thank you for sharing this Michael.

    I just got out of my own “Prayer Chair” after reading the last week of the life of Christ from the Book of Matthew.

    I too, cry every time I really allow myself to slow down and walk this walk with Him in my heart.

    We worship Thy Passion O Christ.

    Easter Blessings to you, Gail and your family.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Pat. The same to you and your family.

  • A4grad

    That no matter what God wants to forgive me because He loves me, even to the point of dying to save me.

  • http://www.dannybeckettjr.com DANNY BECKETT JR.

    Amen brother.

  • http://onecurveatatime.com Chris R. Smith

    Well said. The hope of His rising becomes our source for JOY! There can be no resurrection except first their must be a death. However, God has a better plan than closure, it’s called reunion.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that saying. I first heard Todd Burpo, author of Heaven is for Real, use it in the interview I did with him.

  • http://twitter.com/teitr teitr

    Good Friday, Holy Friday, or Great Friday as varying Christian churches refer to this day always takes me back to my youth. I grew up with a strict Roman Catholic grandmother
    in a time, in a town that also observed the day. No stores were open on Good Friday except for an appointed emergency pharmacy. It was strictly a day of prayer and fasting. A few years later, (latter 1950s) stores were open during most of the day but closed for three hours of observance. Grandma and I walked to church in which we stood for an hour, knelt for an hour, then sat the final hour of the mass. No radio or television played in our house until Easter. We ate lentils and other simple foods but no meat until Easter Sunday. Later, as an Orthodox Christian (by my own choice) I have come to appreciate even more every moment of veneration as we re-enact Jesus taken down from the cross, wrapped and placed in a “tomb”. It’s such a holy experience. This hymn is sung, or chanted:

    The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.

    Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
    The angel came to the myrrh-bearing women at the tomb and said:
    Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.

    I thank God for His great Love for us. I am so grateful for that love, for such unrivaled obedience of His Son, Jesus Christ, and for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit sent to all who believe.

  • Usielcsouza

    In fact, I never put too much attention on commemorative dates, even the Christian ones. I’m a Christian, of course, and a pastor, a leader consequently. Why? Maybe for deceptions that I had when I was a child. I have been living the Good Friday as a very common day. So, it doesn’t mean anything special for me. But I would like to know how can a different approach affect my life. Can it be useful to my spiritual life?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Just think of the old testament, where the great acts of God were remembered and celebrated. I think God understand our need for special days in order to remember His mighty acts on our behalf. This rhythm reflects a profound understanding of human psychology. The ancient fathers of the church understood this as well. The very first ecumenical council, held in 325 A.D. in Nicea, established how to calculate the date of Easter, so that Christians all over the world could celebrate it together.

  • Keith

    Truly the Ultimate Gift!

  • http://www.justcris.com Cris Ferreira

    Good Friday: when God proved that He would do anything to save us, and He showed how much He loves us.

  • Steve

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

    I so appreciate you being moved to tears. If we would only but model an ounce of such love!

    Thank you for what you do, Mike.

    Indeed!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Steve. I feel like I grow a little more each year in my understanding of all that God has done for us. And yet, I feel that I have only scratched the surface. Even eternity will not be long enough to comprehend the love of God for us.

  • http://twitter.com/robrash robrash

    It’s almost an oxymoron isn’t it? Good doesn’t even come close to describing first what Jesus went through and second what it meant for mankind.

    Good Friday means hope, purpose, and life. It means death was beaten and in return, life was given. That is simply amazing.

  • Keene44

    In today’s hectic, self centered world, it is hard for people to relate to such a selfless act. We truly have trouble grasping unconditional love. We do not take time to really empathize and understand the love and sacrifice by God through the death of his only beloved son Jesus. Take this to ask yourself would you do the same for, your enemy, friend, neighbor? We cannot begin to understand that level of love…yet.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is truly beyond understanding.

  • FinanceCoacH

    Reminder that all the trials that I have and will go through Paul in comparison to what my Savior went trhough for me before I even thought of choosing Him and loving Him. I am humbled.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think this is precisely why I am speechless when I gaze upon the Cross.

  • Missjudi65

    To me, there is nothing more humbling than attributing my most heinous thoughts and deeds to the God of the Universe, scourged and crucified for me. And nothing more gracious and glorious than knowing He endured all of it because His blood purchased me!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

    Good Friday has always had mixed emotions for me. We call it “Good” yet the savior was beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross in a cruel manner of death. Yet without this event we have not the freedom to accept the grace of salvation that God provides to us unmerited through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I think the best way to describe it is through the chorus of “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns:
    “Living, He loved me
    Dying, He saved me
    Buried, He carried my sins far away
    Rising, He justified freely forever
    One day He’s coming
    Oh glorious day, oh glorious day”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      In my own tradition (Eastern Orthodox), it is called “Great and Holy Friday.” I think it is “great,” because it Christ accomplished something great, as Casting Crowns point out. It is “holy,” because it is unlike any other Friday. It is truly set apart.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

        Very good point. I completely agree with teh celebration aspect, but it still pains me to deal with the suffering part before the rising up part. It is one of the reasons I relly like the John version versus some of the synopitcs. John portrays beautifully the giving up of life in a voluntary this is my gift to save humanity way versus the very human and earthy way that Mark shows Jesus. John does a great job of glorifying the death and that the resurrection is the lifting up of Jesus.

        • Karl Mealor

          FYI, the Casting Crowns song is a remake of a hymn. It’s a great congregational song as well.

  • http://twitter.com/DebBat Deborah Bateman

    Good Friday is a commemoration of Jesus Dying on the Cross. I am so grateful for the sacrifice that he made for our sins.

  • LoriS

    Hope…and that the story isn’t over yet because Sunday is coming.

  • Cassie Hansen

    While we missed due to sick boys, I still had the amazing honor of sitting with Nathaniel and reading the passages from the Children’s Bible Reader (Orthodox Children’s Bible). His face was so concerned, so upset, when I told him what it meant for Christ to be nailed on the cross, how the crown of thorns was not a good crown but a painful one. As I was telling him how Christ was hurt, he kept shaking his head and saying “NO.” My sweet boy, he already has a love for Christ and cannot understand how people could hurt Him, or why I tell him we need to be thankful for His pain. As tears came to my eyes all I could think of is that while I have not physically placed a crown of thorns on Christ, I have caused him pain in all my sinfulness. I need Pascha more and more each year!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Me, too, I can’t wait for Pascha! (For those of you who don’t know, “Pascha” means ”Passover” and is the word Eastern Christians use to refer to Easter.)

  • Gtdarnell

    The example above all others, Jesus suffering the cross for me, and it hurt Him so much.

  • Dan Greegor Jr.

    To me it means commitment. Jesus could have said, “Nah, get someone else.” Instead, he followed through on his calling; his purpose.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is true leadership.

  • http://www.kristyblogs.com/ Kristy K

    To me it means that God REALLY loves me. Enough that He’d watch His own son suffer. Such mercy and grace… all for me. Thank you Jesus!

  • http://profiles.google.com/susanwbailey Susan Bailey

    Today is the first anniversary of my mother’s passing. I celebrate today, not just looking upon it as a reminder of death, but as a gateway to new life. A year ago today, my daughter stopped by my mother’s house after she had learned of her death and snapped a beautiful picture of tulips in full bloom. Jesus knew of my mother’s terrible suffering and I believe now that she finally knows him, thanks to the prayers of many.

    My husband is part of the Eastern Catholic Church (Melkites) – he is a deacon and he has celebrated this service many times too. Very meaningful.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for posting the beautiful song Mike! I don’t think I’ve ever heard it. It’s quite beautiful, but haunting at the same time.

    As for what Good Friday means to me… It’s a dark yet joyous day. The suffering of Christ on the cross was required for our salvation, yet we know the outcome and his resurrection three days later. It makes the dark day bright.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is exactly how I would describe this song—beautiful but haunting. Other-worldly, really.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Good Friday always has special meaning to me. Forty years ago on Good Friday, I was on a road run for our track team with two guys with the last name of Richardson. We were running up in the hills around the pit of a toxic waste dump. It was one of the ugliest and smelliest places I have ever seen. As we were running, I tripped over a big rock and yelled out the Lord’s name in vain. The two guys I was running with stopped me and confronted me. They told me about Jesus and how he died and rose again.

    As I was standing on the edge of that pit, I asked the Lord to come in to my life. We all prayed together. As we ran down from that ugly place, the sun came out and illuminated the beauty of the green hills below. My life changed forever that day in 1971.

    I’ll never forget the illustration that the Lord gave me that day. From the pit of death he arose. His glory now abounds to anyone who will invite him in. Won’t you do that today?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful story, John. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karl Mealor

      What a great story! In my county, 84% of the people do not regularly attend church. I wish we had more people who would be willing to witness as your two friends did.

  • http://felicitywhite.com Felicity White

    What a tangible feeling of hope: “Show us Thy glorious resurrection!” Of course, much easier for me to speak here from my vantage point than for the followers of Jesus to have spoken then . . . what a difficult day this was for them.

  • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

    I thought last night about the fact that it was a real day, like today.

    It’s easy to forget the reality of the day that He was crucified.

    I wrote about it briefly in the post – http://markjmartin.com/2011/04/22/it-was-a-real-day/

    • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

      I try to make the events that we remember today are the central focus of my life. The fact that Jesus died for my sins motivate my actions.

      Thank you for sharing this today!

  • Kristen

    Great post Michael. Good Friday is so meaningful to me as well. I am often overtaken with awe at the suffering He endured so that I can go on living the life I live without fear of death. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Forrest Long

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful words. The Orthodox liturgy for the days of Holy Week are so deep and rich with meaning and really call a person to stop and contemplate the rich grace of God and how costly this action was for God. It is a beautiful procession toward the celebration of Pascha (Easter). It’s sad that all of this liturgy is unknown to most Western Christians.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The nice thing is that it is becoming increasingly known. Our church was packed last night. I’m sure that tonight it will be overflowing!

      • Karl Mealor

        I was unfamiliar with this particular service until you mentioned on your blog. Sounds very moving. We will look at adding something similar next year.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I wish there were more churches that participated in the days of Holy Week.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Good Friday to me means LOVE in it’s purest form and greatest expression. Beyond that, there are no words for me.

  • Rick

    It is hard to express what this day means to me. God, The creator of all died for us, so that we may have life eternal. Trampling down death by death.

  • http://sheliamullican.com Shelia

    Thank you, Mike, for this.

    I am grateful that the Church gives us this opportunity to sink into the Passion of Christ, and doesn’t just scuttle us through to Resurrection. It is a vital part of the story. Christ’s story, and mine. Only those who have tasted death truly appreciate the wonder of the Resurrection.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen to that.

    • LesaKMelchor

      I concur! Love this post!

  • Anonymous

    I declare myself a spiritual atheist whose faith is rooted the good things that people do. I found your Good Friday piece inspiring because it spoke to the mystery of something apparently awful and the immense good that came from it. As I tell people in a leadership class I teach, if we think about leadership style of Jesus, the most important aspect is that it endured and had such sustaining impact. In contrast to other hero leaders who use the tough-guy autocratic approach I point out that Jesus was a tough guy too – tough enough to die for his non-autocratic beliefs.

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    Good Friday means that God loved me so much, so deeply, that He couldn’t just leave me where I was at–no matter how many times I messed up. Rather than growing more and more frustrated, He grew more and more compassionate.

    If only I could learn to love like that…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

      Amen to that. That is a love that I strive for everyday and come up so short of doing. In God’s infinite power, it amazes me that God constrained His power to come to earth as a human and deal with us in the messiness of life so that we would have the ability to receive grace. Love that is indescribable.

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  • Neil

    It should have been me on that cross. I earned it; I deserved it. But a loving God found a way to reconcile me and my sinful nature with His perfect righteousness, so that we could both have fellowship and relationship with each other. What a God we serve!

    • Karl Mealor

      Amen!

  • Agatha304

    For me, it is a reminder that Jesus had choices. He could have walked away and lived a normal life. But he didn’t. He chose to follow God’s plan so I might have an abundant life.
    Agatha Nolen
    @agatha304

  • PBM

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful Orthodox hymn for Holy Thursday. In the Roman Catholic Liturgy for Holy Thursday, the Gospel is John’s account of the Washing of the Feet, followed by the Priest washing the feet of 12 parishioners. This is a moving reminder of Christ’s mandate to love through humble service. In the Good Friday Liturgy we recall Christ’s ultimate act of service, dying so that we may live. We need to keep in mind that we continue to crucify Christ a second time when we fail to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and care for God’s creation.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    For me, Good Friday means that everything has a cost. Today represents the cost of our salvation. If we will celebrate on Sunday, we must appreciate Friday.

    Similarly, in our own lives, we cannot get to Resurrection without carrying the Cross. Fortunately, we have someone who has gone before us, who has shown us the way, and will heap grace upon us, bearing our burdens on our journey towards new life.

  • Matt E.

    Nicely done. It is amazing!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Mike,

    Listening to the video (I stopped watching after minute one, bowed my head, and just absorbed the message) slowed me down and I needed to slow down. Good Friday means His pain my gain (cliche, I know, but true nonetheless). I know I deserved hell. Christ offered me heaven instead.

    On his blog today at , Richard Burkey had a great line in reference to the thief on the cross. “He asks for Jesus to throw a crumb of remembrance and Jesus gives him an eternal feast in heaven.” That’s me.

    Here’s Richard’s link: http://richardburkey.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/the-good-in-good-friday/

    God bless,
    Tom

  • http://RichardBurkey.wordpress.com Richard Burkey

    Good Friday means everything. Good Friday is the hinge point of history. Everything turns on Jesus death. What we do to God is not good, but what God does for us, how Jesus dies for us, that is the Good in Good Friday.

    We know that Jesus does this for our good, when you look at the words He says from the cross and what they mean for us today. Words of forgiveness, promises of paradise, His being forsaken, His cry of victory and giving His life up to God for our sins.

    We gave God our worst, and He as He loves to do gives us His best. Thanks for the post and link to the 12 Passion Gospels, I clipped them into my Evernote.

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    Good Friday to me is a day to reflect on Christ’s death, preparing for his resurrection (as you said, Sunday is coming – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn94B3GHcjY). The death and resurrection of Christ is SO important to our faith. If not for the death and resurrection of Christ, our preaching would be in vain, and our faith would be in vain (1 Cor. 15:12-20). Thank God for Good Friday and Easter Sunday!

  • Barry Whitlow

    Thanks to everyone that commented for writing this New Easter Devotional! All week I have searched for Easter devotional content to use in my families Easter Week devotions – so this is great! If anyone knows how to save all of these into one doc, I’d love to have them! **Maybe a new type of comment driven ‘open source’ book Michael? -Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/drbret Bret L Simmons

    Wow, your pastor has a GREAT voice. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Actually, that wasn’t my pastor. But the same hymn is sung in every Orthodox church all over the world.

  • http://twitter.com/BarbaraThayer1 Barbara Thayer

    Growing up, my mother and I always attended Good Friday services. The beautiful altar was stripped of flowers and then draped in black symbolizing the death of our Lord. It was dramatic and a reminder of what Christ did for us and for our sins. The Easter morning celebration began with the removal of those dark coverings and the bringing in of Easter lilies. What a glorious morning to celebrate. I anticipate that celebration. However, I remember today the terrible sacrifice that Christ made. Thank you for sharing Michael.

  • Anonymous

    Amen!

  • http://www.mollyfulton.posterous.com Molly Fulton

    My meditation on Good Friday today was dominated by this question that Pilate asked: “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” It always sends a shiver through me when the crowd shouts, “Crucify him!” – and yet I know his blood in on me. Everyday I (we all) have to answer the question Pilate posed: What shall I do, then, with Jesus? I choose to believe him. (I expand on this idea on my blog today.)

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Molly, I checked out your post on your blog; thanks for your thoughts.

  • http://www.fishblogwash.blogspot.com Sean

    If God has the power to resurrect Jesus from the dead, He has the power to open up doors for us that no man can shut. That gives me hope…

  • Jmhardy97

    what a powerful day and powerful message. We have much to be thankful for. I time of reflection and thankness on this great day.

  • dsprtlydpndnt

    Stunning and interesting. I just returned from my Friday morning long run at a nearby lake. For me tears and songs flow fairly easily practicing discipline in creation with smatterings of people around staring at it all. As I greeted people I passed by “Good morning” I contemplated who is it good for? Good Friday and Easter not about math or days but about “an accurate view of myself and an accurate view of God”. These days are in away, exclamation points to both those ends. IN Northern CA where I am ,the focus of today is “Earth Day”. Go figure. I prayed and wept and spoke even, that these people would see the creator, would recognize the glimpse of glory, would give thanks and worship appropriately. How can they miss Him? How can I?

  • Davidtieche

    For a long time, as a Christian the story of Good Friday was told in a way that Jesus was the one who suffered, while God the Father just kind of sat idly by, being grumpy. There was even that quixotic verse about Jesus saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

    Then I read the footnotes of my Bible, and found that the “forsaken” line was actually the first line of Psalm 22.

    Have you ever read Psalm 22? For me, this changed everything. It showed me that God the Father wasn’t some sort of passive participant in the Cross, and that this event scarred and affected Him every bit as much as Jesus. For me, it showed God’s great love, not just for me (for us! all of us!) but for his Son. It showed what kind of Go

    I know you don’t like people linking to things in your blog, Mr. Hyatt, but if you’d like to read some words about that line, you can here:

    http://www.davetieche.com/uncategorized/why-is-good-friday-good

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  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Sounds like it was a great service. I don’t have any sort of orthodox background. So this is foreign to me. It’s very intriguing though. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://christianray.myopenid.com/ Christian Ray

    This is so good. Thank you Michael. I stopped and remembered the Lord. What love. Unimaginable. A step back before the cross, the last supper also moved me in a different way this year. It was about how truly painful the betrayal of Judas was for Jesus, even though he knew, he still had dinner with him? That is so hard for me to grasp. http://www.christianrayflores.com

  • planssucceed

    Thank you for allowing me to sit at your feet and learn. Just listening brought chills. God is using you to impact so many for the advancement of God’s Kingdom

  • Lou

    Good Friday, didn’t even happen on Friday. Like most pagan holidays recycled as christian by an unbelieving monster who was just looking to reconsolidate his empire is an unintentional insult to Him who did not spare His own son. For the first three hundred years, the resurrection was celebrated at passover till the founder of this anti-semitic corrupted human way of trying to fit YHWH in a box made it a crime punishable by death to celebrate it at the time that all scripture points to. If you bother to check out the accounts of the council of Nicea you will want to initiate a bonfire with theology books that will make hell look chilly.

    • http://twitter.com/kevinmwall Kevin M Wall

      Wow Lou. My heart really goes out as I hear a lot of pain in your post. I tend to agree with an element of your post, in the aspect of pagan holidays being conjoined to Christian rememberances, I think what should be the supreme focus is WHAT took place, and less on the specific WHEN. After all, measurement of time is a man made concept including the modern Gregorian caledar which was adopted by the Roman Catholic church as recently as the 16th century. Aligning the date approximately does not negate the importance of the act of love. And incidentally, today is the 4th day of Passover.

      • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

        Kevin, I agree. It’s not so much WHEN we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, but THAT we celebrate it, and recognize that God became a man in order to bring salvation to man.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Each year I stand amazed that Christ did this for us while we were so unlovely, and so filthy with sin. I am amazed the Jesus suffered the shame of the cross for the joy beyond it. Even Mel Gibson’s graphic “Passion of the Christ” cannot fully make us comprehend the unbearable shame He endured, the excruciating pain, for Him to look out over the crowd, and hear their mocking voices. He showed such self-control that I cannot imagine. I cannot read the account without crying. I cannot think upon it without sobbing.

    Then I think upon the glorious resurrection, and how the angels rejoiced when He arose. I think about Mary when she recognized Jesus, her joy, and her elation that He was not dead. I give thanks for Him every day, and rejoice.

  • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

    Beautiful reflection Michael. I too am moved by the weight of what today represents. However, I think it’s all the more poetic that today is ALSO Earth Day… I just wrote about it on my blog.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I checked out the post on your blog. Well done. And I like the look of your blog.

      • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

        Thanks Robert!

  • Karl Mealor

    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    “Truly this day, you shall be with Me in paradise.”
    “Woman, behold your Son” Behold thy mother.”
    “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
    “I thirst.”
    “It is finished.”
    “Father, into Your hand I commit My spirit.”

  • raphiepg

    …”This love is mine I cannot comprehend it,
    This love revealed through Christ my Lord divine.
    When on the tree He died for me,
    God gracious, glorious mighty love;
    This love is mine.” Happy Easter [ Resurrection Sunday]

  • http://sheridanvoysey.com Sheridan Voysey

    What a beautiful, meaningful and poignant lyric for Easter. It captures the profound love of God for us expressed in Jesus.

    I approached this Easter by writing a parable, trying to capture just what that trial, death and resurrection might look like today, and how it might have impacted me if I were personally involved: http://sheridanvoysey.com/an-easter-parable/

    So, something modern to compliment the ‘something ancient’ you’ve shared.

    Happy Easter.

  • http://twitter.com/kevinmwall Kevin M Wall

    Michael-
    I too am always amazed at the supreme act of love that took place that day. I am personally more moved by that than the Ressurection. How our loving God sacrificed for the sins I have still not yet committed is beyond comparison. And in this act we find the greatest gift that mankind has ever needed, and never been worthy: Grace. Praise him.

  • Anonymous

    I cherish this week. So deep with pain, suffering, and utter amazing redemptive love. Our youth group and choir reenact Jesus’ path to the cross through scripture readings, song, and responsorials. It brings the story to life in a very moving way. It is somewhat painful to participate as I am reminded of what humanity is capable of, including me. But praise be to God, you’re right Michael…this is not the end of the story. He is risen and I’m forgiven. Alleluia!

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I agree; this is a great week to remember Christ and his work.

  • http://geofftalbot.wordpress.com Geoff Talbot

    Good Friday is like Christ tidying my room and buying me a whole lot of brand news clothes… No more rubbish, no more dirt, no more stains… Thank the Lord I can start all over again.

  • Vicki George

    I find it hard for me to put into words. I hve never shared with others what it means to me. So here goes. Jesus could have at any time saved himself from such a horrific death, but he chose to die and then be resurrected so that I could live the ultimate sacrifice that a parent could make is the one God did, so how is it mankind can stillturn their back on him, but come Easter Sunday we are all in church? I believe he died for my sins I am a Christian and am eagerly awaiting the 2nd coming. Satan took 3 lives in our community last sat and took our chapel by sending a tornado our way. We Will have Easter services this Sunday at our church. praise God Praise God hes lives , he lives . Do not feel sorrow for the 3 that were taken for they had just accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior just 2 weeks before their death. Satan gained nothing, but the kingdom of Heave n gained 3 glorious souls. so you see satan was upset at this happening so he tried to take out an entire neihborhood, the blood of Jesus prevented that and the surviving members of that family will be glorified.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amazing story. Thank you.

  • http://b.kraft.im Brandon Kraft

    Michael — Thanks for posting this. I’m less familiar with the Eastern liturgies and it is always like a breeze hitting from a newly-opened window each time I hear something new.

    The reference to Adam reminds me of the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. On Holy Saturday, the Office of Readings includes an ancient homily describing Christ seeking out Adam during this time between death and new life. It’s a bit long, but beautiful:

    Something strange is happening–there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

    He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

    I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

    For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

    See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

    I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

    Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Every Friday is a good Friday, hence TGIF. This one should be called Better Friday.

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  • Cmnancymom

    Carmen has an old song titled “Sunday is on its Way” that really speaks to this exact issue and makes me, as did your post, want to cry as I think about how the Almight God, Creator of the Universe, could allow Himself to suffer as He did. Umbelievable love, literally Love personified :) Amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

    This year we focused our service on the loss and despair of the Disciples. I think too often we blow past the dark side of Good Friday because we are able to look through the lens of Easter. We talk about Jesus’ death, but before we walk out the door we are quick to remind ourselves that death was not the end of the story.

    I wanted to remind everyone that there is a world out there where the power and joy of Easter is not part of people’s lives; for them the stone has not been rolled away. And if we can think about just how dark the pain and questioning was for three days, then Sunday has so much more power and meaning when it comes. Then I gave everyone a stone as they left.

    Something different, but I think everyone understood the point.

  • http://mirrorsandwindowsnow.blogspot.com/ Alicha

    Two simple, obvious facts have occupied my mind this Easter. As I’ve always glanced over these truths before, I have enjoyed mulling over their significance, exploring the meaning of both.

    One…Jewish Passover dictates our Christian celebration of Easter.
    Two…Easter and Passover occur in springtime.

  • Wendy MacMillan

    In my current Bible study, “Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit”, by Beth Moore, we examined the fruit of Goodness. We learned that “Goodness is character energized, expressing itself in benevolence, active good. What God does is good because of the good it does.” I now see Good Friday with so much more depth and clarity. It is the culmination of everything Jesus did here on earth – His obedience, teaching, example, rebukes, miracles… – everything He did was good, right up to the final act of sacrificing His life through a horrible death so that we might have eternal life by believing on Him. Good Friday is the day when Christ said, “It is finished.” Every good has been done by Him for our good. There truly is nothing more to be done for our salvation. It is now up to people to choose to believe or deny Christ.

  • Lyne Tumlinson

    The Ikos for the Kontakion, sung during the Canon of Holy Friday Matins adds to this as well: “As the Ewe watched her own Lamb being led to the slaughter, the exhausted Mary followed along with the other women. And in words like these she cried aloud: ‘Where are You going, my Child? Why must You finish this race so quickly? Is there perhaps another wedding in Cana? Must You hasten there to change water into wine for them? Should I go with You, my Child, or should I wait for You? Give me a word, O Word! Do not pass me by in silence! You preserved me chaste, for You remain my Son and my God.’”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The hymns are all so beautiful!

  • http://christianray.myopenid.com/ Christian Ray

    I loved Bog Goff’s tweet: I don’t understand such love. I would not go to dinner with a man who would betray me if I knew the next day I would die because of that betrayal.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never heard of this service. Wow! Though I have been a believer since 2006 this is the first year that it became more real to me that Jesus Christ chose to die on a cross for me, knowing everything I would ever do. He loved me enough to do it. That’s really sinking in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.n.marcus Michael N. Marcus

    >>How is it that God Himself—the Creator of the Universe—can suffer death at the hands of His creatures?<<

    Simple answer: it's not possible.

  • Angela Braach

    For me it means — the best is yet to come!!

  • Melody

    This was the riches Holy Week of my faith walk. This is what I posted on my FB account about the day AFTER Good Friday:
    “This is that dark silence between yesterday and tomorrow…when our Hope has died, and everything we’ve held to be True is buried in the earth. This is when our fears become reality and doubt begins to settle in. When the enemy sets a seal over the destruction he’s exacted…unaware that even in the dark recesses of the grave, God’s most miraculous works are taking place. Do not lose heart. Be patient and wait…for Sunday’s coming!

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  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    I still think about this year’s Easter. I read about the death, burial, & resurrection the 3 days leading up to Easter. Even though I’ve read it many times before, I came across a passage in Matthew 27 that hit me at a different angle. When Jesus gave up His Spirit, Holy men who had already been dead raised from the dead and left their tomb! That screamed to me. That’s what Jesus does. He raises us. He died so we could be raised Spiritually. Even if we’re dead… and have been dead.

    I thought about that further and realized that, even though these men were raised from the dead, even though Lazarus was raised from the dead, even though others were raised from the dead, and miracles were performed, we all have to die again. But, in the case of the saved – those who are raised from a Spiritual death – we are brought to life like never before.

    Yeah… Easter ROCKS!

  • BROSAND

    It means nothing to me since Jesus could not have spent 3 days & 3 nights in the grave if He had been crucified on Friday. He was crucified on Wednesday.