What Makes it Good?

good fridayby Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International

Going way back, more than fifty years ago, I can remember a time when “Good Friday” was observed publicly in our community.  Businesses closed down from noon to three p.m.  Many churches were open and, often, Christian services were a joint affair in large auditoriums.  People came together to hear local pastors give brief talks on each of the seven words from the cross.  A sober time, this set the stage for reflection and gratitude and prepared people’s hearts for the great celebration ahead on Resurrection Sunday.

If you can’t stop at noon today to revisit the cross via New Testament passages, consider gathering your family together this evening or even tomorrow (Saturday) and read and reflect on this familiar story.  Decide where you would be standing and how you might feel if you were actually at the foot of Jesus’ cross hearing Him utter His last words before He committed His spirit to His Heavenly Father.

A WORD TO PARENTS:  This is such a good time to help your children understand why we call this ‘GOOD’ Friday.  We are redeemed, made right with God, not by the life of Jesus (as perfect and exemplary as it was) but by His death.  The agonizing experience He suffered was for US.  God accepts His willing sacrifice of His own perfect life as a sin offering so that WE can be redeemed, have OUR sins forgiven. Jesus’ death restores the relationship that God intended we have with Him from the very beginning.

Go back, if you can, to John 1:29, 3:16, Romans 3:23 and I John 1:7-9.  Read these verses out loud, together.  It is far more appropriate than ‘asking Jesus into our hearts’ to point out the penalty for sin (death), the penalty paid by Jesus rather than by us, and our need to believe that this is what Jesus did when He died on the cross, and what we must do in response.

How wonderful if this Friday becomes ‘good’ in your family history because all members acknowledge this powerful Biblical truth and make it their own!

AN EXERCISE TO DO TOGETHER:

BEFORE HAND:

  • Prepare 8 3X5 cards – Reference on lined side; words on blank side.

REFERENCES on lined side:   1: Luke 23:34; 2: Luke 23:43; 3: John 19:26-27; 4: Matt.27:46; 5: John 19:28; 6: John 19:30; 7: Luke 23:46. 8. John 1:29

PHRASES on blank side:  1. Father, forgive them.  2. Today, with me in paradise. 3. Dear woman, your son. 4. Father, why have you forsaken Me?  5. I am thirsty. 6. It is finished.  7. Father, I commit my spirit to You.  8. Behold the Lamb of God!

  • A single candle, placed at the end of the table.
  • Have Bibles or New Testaments, enough for one to a person, if possible.
  • Pens or pencils.
  • Seat family members and anyone else who is with you around the table on three sides, only.  Leave the end which you consider the head of the table empty except for the candle.

HOW IT GOES:

  • Light the candle symbolizing the life of Jesus.  Distribute the cards.
  • Take turns reading the verses from the Bible indicated on the cards, one at a time.  After a person reads the Scripture, he places his card in the center of the table, words side up.
  • After all eight cards are on the table, work together to arrange them from top to bottom, in order – from the first ‘word’ to the last ‘word.’
  • Place at the head of the column, card 8, words side up, “Behold the Lamb of God.”
  • Give each person another card.  On the blank side, let him write: “He died for the forgiveness of my sins.” And sign his name.
  • Invite each person to place his card on the table, his words side up, around the column of Jesus’ last ‘words.’  You might even place some so that the column becomes a cross.
  • Ask someone to blow out the candle.
  • Depending on the ages of the participants and the time you have to allot to this exercise, you can ask each other thoughtful questions about the story of Jesus’ crucifixion as it unfolds through His last words.
  • Close with prayers of thanksgiving after using one of the following for a closing comment:

1.  Someone asked Jesus how much He loved us.  He opened His arms wide (demonstrate) and died on a cross.

This is a picture of God’s plan.  We are valuable to God because He created us in love.  Jesus bought us back from the penalty of our sin when He died on the cross.

– OR –

2.   A little boy once made a beautiful, toy sail boat.  After a rain, he took it outside and placed it in a stream.  It sailed away before he could catch it and was gone.  Later, he saw it again in the window of a thrift shop.  He went inside and bought it back.  The shop keeper heard him say, as he left.   “Little boat, I made you.  And when you got lost, I bought you back.”

This is a picture of God’s plan.  We are valuable to God because He created us in love.  Jesus bought us back from the penalty of our sin when He died on the cross.

 

 

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