Today is Good Friday and Easter is almost here. The two days are set aside on the calendar to reflect upon and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
According to Christian beliefs, Good Friday is the day Christ agonized and died to save humanity from its sinful ways. Three days after, on Easter Sunday, Christ broke the shackles of death and rose to fulfill the prophecy foretold in the Old Testament.
Movies have been made about Christ’s Passion, or suffering, and many medical doctors, scientists and scholars have put their heads together over the years to make sense of what actually happened to Jesus Christ, a man mocked and killed for calling himself the Son of God.
But the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the most detailed accounts and trace the events of Jesus’ last hours on earth. Although there is some controversy as to what happened and what Jesus actually said in those last hours, the simple facts of his scourging and execution remain. Just as the Bible says, Jesus died, was buried and rose again.
Before Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible says He went there to pray and plead His case before His Father. Knowing what must be done, Christ gave His will over and said, according to Luke 22:42, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me, yet, not My will, but Yours be done.”
Considering the magnitude of what was coming, the conclusion has been drawn that Christ was very stressed. In fact, he was so emotionally distraught, the Bible says he sweat blood.
In Luke 22:44, “And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, in an article dated March 21, 1986, the author said there is a condition where people get so stressed they have an extreme physical reaction to the stressor, a rare condition known as hematridrosis or hemihidrosis, in which case a person will literally sweat blood.
Upon Jesus’ arrest by Jewish officials, He was taken to Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest for that year. It is estimated that Jesus was arrested about midnight on the eve of the Sabbath, which then, was illegal. Jewish law forbade arrests or trials on the eve of the Sabbath or Feast Days, and even at night.
But, as it was, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and tried for blasphemy, as Jesus was accused of saying He would destroy and rebuild the Temple of God within three days. He was also accused of proclaiming Himself as the Son of God.
During the course of the night, estimated to be in the early hours of Friday, April 7, the charges were formulated by the Sanhedrin, and then, again, changed to charges of claiming Himself as a king and not paying taxes, when He was brought before the Roman government.
When Pontius Pilate, the local Roman governing authority, saw that Jesus had done no wrong, he turned Christ back over to the Jewish government – to Herod. When brought before the tetrarch of Judea, Herod could find no wrong, even though Jesus quietly said He was the King of the Jews.
With both governments not knowing what to do with Him, and the Jewish people demanding the death of Jesus, Pilate relented to the people’s wishes, and handed Him over to the Roman guard to be scourged, or flogged.
Jesus was made to carry His cross to Golgatha, the Place of the Skull, or more commonly known as Calvary. Between the time He was arrested and the time He was nailed to the cross, Jesus was made to walk 2.5 miles.
This included going back and forth between the Roman and Jewish governments as well as his path to Golgatha. After the beating He was given and the other factors that were taken into account, Jesus was physically not able to carry the patibulum, or the crossbeam of the cross. The Romans summoned Simon of Cyrene to help Jesus carry this crossbeam to Golgatha.
Some controversy has been spurred because the Bible; the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, says that Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross.
Medical analysis “disputes” that in that it is literally impossible for the hands to hold the weight of the body. But, according to the JAMA article, this fact is not controversial at all in that in the time of Christ, science considered the wrist a part of the hand.
By this time, Jesus was probably suffering from hypovolemic shock, “a state of physical collapse and prostration caused by massive blood loss, circulatory dysfunction and inadequate tissue perfusion” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary), and exhaustion.
Once His hands were staked to the cross, He was then lifted, probably by a rope, to the post, where his arms were holding the brunt of his weight. Due to the positioning of his arms, His shoulders were probably dislocated as well as his elbows. Also, this position puts the rib cage in a precarious position in that the lungs and ribs were put into a constant state of inhalation.
With the positioning of the ribs, it was difficult for Jesus to exhale normally, therefore, He would have had to push Himself upward to exhale.
It was customary for the Romans to break the legs of the criminals to hasten their imminent death. But because Jesus had already died, the Romans saw no need to break his legs. They did, however, spear his side to make sure he was no longer alive.
He was buried at the gravesite of Joseph of Arimathus, and the Bible says He rose again on the third day, which Christians today call Easter Sunday.
The clergy of Minden will sponsor its third Good Friday Service at noon, Friday, March 25, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 1107 Broadway.
The theme is “To the Cross and Beyond,” with a focus on the journey to the cross, along with the power and meaning of His resurrection.
Also, the Watchman’s Ministers Fellowship, will feature “The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus,” at 7 p.m., Friday, March 25, at Greater St. Paul Baptist Church, located at 510 High Street. A combination of choirs from area churches will provide music.
Area churches will be hosting Easter services this weekend, and they are as follows:
n St. John’s Episcopal Church: On Friday, March 25, the Good Friday Liturgy will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m., the Great Vigil of Easter and the First Eucharist of Easter will take place. On Sunday, March 27, the church will host its Easter egg hunt at 9:15 a.m., with their Solemn High Mass to follow at 10:30 a.m. No services Sunday night.
- First United Methodist Church in Minden: The church will host a Good Friday Tenebrae Service, Friday, March 25, at 7 p.m. Morning worship Sunday, March 27, will be at 10:30 a.m. No services Sunday night.
- First Baptist Church in Minden: A community Easter egg hunt will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 26, at Victory Park. Regular services will take place at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
- First Assembly of God: Regular services will take place at 10:30 a.m. No services Sunday night.
- Minden Presbyterian Church: A special presentation by the Brass Quartet will be at 10:45 a.m., during regular services.
- Yellow Pine Christian Church: An Easter egg hunt will be from 2 until 4 p.m., Saturday, March 26, at the church, located at 742 Yellow Pine Road. Age groups are 1-5 and 6-11. On Sunday, March 27, a special Easter service will be at 11 a.m., with lunch to follow.
- St. Rest Baptist Church: The church will host an 8 a.m. service with a special children’s program to follow. No services Sunday night.
- Calvary Baptist Church in Minden: A special musical presentation, “Champion of Love: An Easter Celebration” will be at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, March 27.
- First Pentecostal Church: The church will host an Easter egg hunt at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 26. On Sunday, March 27, their Easter service will be at 10:45 a.m., with a special drama presentation by the youth and a musical presentation by the church choir.
- Victory Praise and Worship Center in Minden: The church will host a special Easter service at 11 a.m., Sunday, March 27.