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Holy Week: Looking at traditional readings — Good Friday

This week is Holy Week for Christians, the days that stretch between Palm Sunday and Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. This week we offer a look at the biblical passages dealing with traditional readings for Holy Week. Each day has up to four readings.

Today is Good Friday.

The name most likely was originally understood as Holy Friday, but evolved in Christian understanding to be the source of ultimate good — that Christ’s crucifixion was necessary in order to lead to his resurrection, whereby sinners can be saved and have eternal life.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The prophet Isaiah spoke of what the Messiah would do, and what would be done to him.

“His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness” [52:14].

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” [53:3].

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering … he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” [53:4-5].

“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” [53:12].

Psalm 22

Jesus’ cry from the cross was likely a reference to this psalm, not a cry of despair. The song says that even when humanity feels abandoned, God will take care of his people and he is ultimately victorious over sin and death.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [verse 1].

“They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” [verse 31].

Heb. 10:16-25 [or 4:14-16; 5:7-9]

The author of this letter encouraged believers to be steadfast in their faith because Jesus has been steadfast in his provision. Readers were reminded that Jesus was the source of grace and salvation.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” [10:23].

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” [4:16].

“He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” [5:9].

John 18:1-19:42

When he had accomplished all that his Father sent him to do, Jesus rested. His body was placed in a borrowed tomb — he wouldn’t need it for long.

“Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and give up his spirit” [19:30].

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there” [19:41-42].

Good Friday is good because it points to Resurrection Sunday.

All passages have been reprinted from the New International Version of the Bible.