Life and death stand side by side as we enter into Good Friday. In John’s passion account, Jesus reveals the power and glory of God, even as he is put on trial and sentenced to death. Standing with the disciples at the foot of the cross, we pray for the whole world in the ancient bidding prayer, as Christ’s death offers life to all. We gather in solemn devotion, but always with the promise that the tree around which we assemble is indeed a tree of life.
The Lessons: Link to Good Friday Scriptures
First Reading: Isaiah 52:13—53:12
The fourth servant poem promises ultimate vindication for the servant, who made his life an offering for sin. The servant pours himself out to death and is numbered with the transgressors, images that the early church saw as important keys for understanding the death of Jesus.
Psalm: Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Ps. 22:1)
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:16-25
In the death of Jesus, forgiveness of sins is accomplished and access to God is established. Hence, when we gather together for worship and when we love others, we experience anew the benefits of Jesus’ death.
Gospel: John 18:1 — 19:42
On Good Friday, the story of Jesus’ passion—from his arrest to his burial—is read in its entirety from the Gospel of John.
Almighty God, look with loving mercy on your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, to be given over to the hands of sinners, and to suffer death on the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen