After the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples went out into their favorite garden to pray. The garden was on the side of a mountain in Jerusalem, and it was full of olive trees. It was very dark. While they were praying, lanterns shone out into the garden. It was the soldiers and enemies of Jesus, coming to arrest him. Jesus knew that they would come and he was ready to go with them. But his disciples didn’t understand what was happening and they were afraid. Peter even drew his sword and slashed at the high priest’s servant. But Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. The soldiers took Jesus and dragged him all around the city that night, to see the priests and the governor. They were accusing Jesus of all kinds of things, because they wanted him to die. Finally, even though he did not find Jesus guilty, the governor agreed to let them kill Jesus.
The death of Jesus is not a pretty story. It is very violent and very sad. Jesus was God’s only Son who became a human man. But he was whipped and beaten and the soldiers put a crown of sharp thorns on his head and laughed at him. They made Jesus carry a heavy wooden cross outside the city, where they nailed his body to it and raised him up to die. They put a sign on the cross to make fun of Jesus–it said “The King of the Jews.” They didn’t know it, but Jesus really is the King of the Jews. He’s the King of the whole world.
On Good Friday we remember the day that Jesus hung on the cross for our sins. He never yelled at the soldiers or tried to get off the cross. He hung there willingly because he knew that he was doing it for us, so that our sins can be forgiven and we can know our God. He is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is our savior.
Dear God, thank you for sending your son Jesus to die for us! Thank you for the cross. We confess that we are sinners, and we need your forgiveness. We need Jesus’ death to pay the price for all of our sins. Amen.
Activity: Use felt figures to tell the story of Jesus’ death. (Leave Jesus on the cross for tomorrow).