Alone: A Good Friday Idea

man alone on boardwalk

Every year at Easter I am reminded that we know nothing of the Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection. In this week where most of the events of Jesus’ ministry were explained it is weird to think that we have this hole there on Saturday.

I have preached about this a few times, but this idea I think will work on a Good Friday service.

This is a short sermon idea that would be part of a larger Good Friday worship experience.

Alone

  • You will need 7 or 8 volunteers who need to have a little foreknowledge of what is to come, but they will not need much practice.
  • Right before your message bring the people up on stage. Have one person stand off to the right side and the rest of the group to the left side.
  • The people on the left should face inward and sort of be pretending to talk among themselves.
  • Right after they get set the person on the right should approach them and very subtly look like he is going to join their circle before walking back to his place on the right.

After their little scene plays out leave the participants on stage and have the Then have the speaker come on stage and ask these questions about the guy on the right:

What do you think he is feeling?

Why do you think that?

Have you ever felt like this before?

What do you normally do when you feel this way?

When you are feeling alone is it easy to think that you are the only person who feels this way?

Have your volunteers sit down and then begin your message. Depending on what your focus is for the rest of the evening either read from Isaiah 53 or

Matthew 27:45-46 “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

The Message

When we are feeling alone it is easy to think that we are the only person who feels this way. One of the amazing things that we see in the story of the cross is our Savior experiencing loneliness. Even though he is surrounded by a crowd and between two theieves His words indicate that He felt alone and abandoned.

As we come to this time and place where we pause and remember the cross. Let us not move to quickly to Sunday morning. Let us remember that Jesus left His place in heaven, left eternal and perfect community with God and came to earth to suffer, to die, and to be alone.

Jesus chose to be alone so that through his death and sacrifice we who were outcast no longer had to be alone.

So if you are here and you feel like you are an outcast. If you are here and you feel alone, rejected, on the outside you need to know two things. One this church is a place for you to feel accepted and find your place, but much much more than that number two is that Jesus himself knows what it feels like to be alone. He walked through loneliness, separation and the cross so that you could know Him.

That is why we call this Friday good. Not that Jesus died, but that Jesus sacrificed himself for us, and Just like the story of Jesus didn’t end of Friday your story doesn’t end with you alone. In your story there is a Sunday coming and it is when Jesus Christ comes into your heart and you are never again alone.

Good Friday Ideas: Weighted

Good Friday Ideas: Weighted
  • You will need 1 of these fishing weights for every person in your group. If you have the budget you can get bigger weights.
  • Give them to volunteers so they can be passed out quickly in your message.
  • You will also need some ankle weights and a heavy backpack to put on for demonstration.
  • Read: Galatians 3:10–13

Galatians 3:10-13 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed. 11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. 12 But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them. 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.

  • Point out that all of us are under were the curse of sin. No matter how much we tried to be righteous we ultimately fell short of the glory of God. That sin was like a weight holding us down no matter where we tried to go or what we tried to do.
  • Put on the ankle weights and the backpack.
  • As you are putting them on describe the way that our sins such a lying, gossiping, adultery, and the like are all weights that we carry with us.
  • This weight of guilt makes life difficult, but that isn’t how we are supposed to live.
  • Jesus took the weight of our sin. He took the curse of our sin and carried it on the cross.
  • Have volunteers pass out the weights.
  • For just a moment I want you to hold this weight in your hand and think about the weight of your sin.
  • If you are a Christian then spend the next few moments thanking Jesus for carrying your sin.
  • If you are not a Christian spend time right now asking Jesus to carry the weight of your sin and thank Him for bearing the curse of sin for you.
  • After 45 seconds or so close with a time of prayer.

Good Friday Idea (Cut Off)

man alone on boardwalk

I wanted to brainstorm a few new Good Friday ideas in the run up to Easter this year. There are a couple of reasons, one of the biggest ones is that Good Friday is probably the most searched term that leads people to Nailscars.com, but also because Good Friday is a perfect moment to introduce creative elements into your worship gatherings.

This idea is still in its infancy, but I trust that there are some creative people who can turn it into something amazing.

Isolated:

When we talk about Jesus and the cross we tend to talk about the whips and the pain and the nails and shame and all of the physical side of the crucifixion. What I think we focus on too rarely is the spiritual side of the cross. The fact that for the first time Jesus is separate from the Father.

That is the cruelty of the cross, that Jesus, the perfect one chooses not to just to die, but to take on the sins of the world and in that moment to no longer have a relationship with God the father. It is an agonizing isolating moment.

As we remember Good Friday and the sacrifice that Jesus made let us think about the times when we have been isolated and alone. Move together into groups of 3 or 4 and share a story when you were cut off from the rest of the world. Maybe it is a story about when your car broke down and your phone battery died or maybe it is a story of your childhood when you got lost while walking with your parents. Tell briefly of your story and describe what it felt to realize you were isolated.

Give participants time to do this.

Now think about that feeling and magnify it be 100 and you get this separation that Jesus is feeling from God. It is this utter alone-ness. In that pain Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!” Jesus suffered that isolation for us.

Now think about what happened when you were no longer alone, no longer separated. Think about how it felt when you saw the familiar path or found your mother’s hand again Think about the relief and the joy and multiply it by 1000 and that is what finding a relationship with God is like.

Jesus Christ suffered on the cross and was separated from the Father so that we who were separated from God because of our sin could find our way home.

Pray and thank Jesus for the sacrifice of the cross.

A Great Video for Easter!

At our church we have an annual Easter Egg hunt that brings in our families as well as people from the community. Part of this hunt is a short worship service. During this time we sing songs and have fun and I like to show a short video that tells the story of Easter. This is the video that we will be using this year. It does a really good job of sharing the story on a kid level. If you are looking for a resource for your Easter or Good Friday service be sure to check this one out!

Remember the Loss: A Good Friday Service Opener

Remember the Loss: A Good Friday Service Opener

This is a little long and a bit rough, but I think it would be a great way to open a Good Friday worship service. Bring your lights down, play some soft music in the background and deliver this more as poem than sermon.

Have you ever been watching a game and been so invested in one team that you almost can’t watch the game? Have you ever sat there watching your team pull ahead and thought that maybe this time, this time things would be different, that this time victory would finally be theirs and by extension yours.

Have you ever sat there and watched as the victory that seemed so sure a moment ago began to slip away? Have you ever watched as your team went from leading to tied to trailing and all you can think is “this is not how this is supposed to go” and that sick feeling in your stomach that this is going to be bad starts to build and build until all you can think about is how much you don’t want to watch this, but yet you just can’t turn away?

Have you ever held out hope, even a fools hope that your team would turn it around that they would do the miraculous. Have you ever counted point differentials while you begged the clock to slow down because just maybe your team could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Have you ever sat there when your team lost and felt utterly hopeless? Have you ever looked at the zeros on the clock and the deficit on the scoreboard and felt like you have been punched in the gut because no matter what else happens you were wrong to hope, wrong to dream, wrong to look for victory. Have you ever felt the pain of loosing when you thought for sure that this time you were going to win?

 

If so then take that feeling and multiply it by 1000 and stand next to John at the foot of the cross. Stand there and watch as the one that you were sure would save the world is arrested. Stand there and watch as the one who you were sure would lead the people of Israel to freedom is nailed to a cross. Stand there with John and hope for something beyond possible, hope for the miracle that maybe just maybe He would listen to the mockers and save himself like he saved others. Stand there and listen to his ragged breath as you hold out hope that somehow he will survive this and lead His people to victory and freedom. Stand there and watch the blood collect in pools around the cross and count the time that He has left before the end. Take that feeling of loss, that feeling like nothing is ever going to be right again and multiply it by like a million as you stand there and watch Jesus, the one you called Messiah, the one who healed the sick, raised the dead, and entered the city to shouts of hosanna dies right before your eyes. Stand there and hold out hope that maybe he isn’t really dead until you see his side pierced and the blood and water pour from the wound. Stand there and try to figure out how you could have gotten all of this so very, very wrong.

 

When we look at this day through the lens of the resurrection we can call it good and we can rejoice for the savior has come and chosen to die for us. We can meet here on Good Friday and smile because we know what this cross means; we know that Sunday is coming. But we must not move to quickly past the cross. We must not look past the pain in order to see the victory. We must not ignore the violence in order to see the empty tomb.

Let us linger for a while on the pain, on the feelings of failure, on that deep pain that comes from losing, from choosing wrong, that pain that comes from being sure that God is going to come through for you and then discovering that He doesn’t.

 

Good Friday reminds us that we live in a world of pain. There is hope, because we know that Sunday is coming, but there is pain, and loss, and regret, and tears. That is where we live, that is what this world is.

We don’t want to move to quickly past this day because it is this day, this horrible, horrible day that allows us to say with confidence that this world is not our home. It is this day that allows us to say that even though it looks like we are defeated we know that God has won. It is this day that we can call good because on this day the God of the universe sent his son to die on a cross to pay a debt that we could never pay. On this day Jesus Christ took on himself the penalty for our sins and we can rejoice and call this day good.

So come, look, remember, and open up your heart as we worship together.