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Good Friday 2014: We spent a ton of time in prayer, as a church leadership, about our first Good friday service. Our hope was to make an invisible God visible to our congregation in a new way. We wanted it be a clear and a stark contrast to Sunday morning and the resurrection. Easter means so much more when you have to walk the road of the cross with Jesus. We ended up writing a script based on our own spin of the stations of the cross based on the Word. What we were left with was mind blowing and heart wrenching.
Here is our script. All the text copyright 2014 Ember Church (Mark Carpender, Adam Fagan-Kela, Joel Klampert, Ed Pichette II), but we want to make this available to any church that wants to use or any part of it for their services. We hope this blesses your congregation and stirs hearts towards Jesus!
Here is the audio from our service. By the end of the night there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
The Script is below and has songs we used as well.
Good Friday Service
1. Pre-Station (Palm Sunday and Last Supper) into Communion
There He stood, screaming at a rock. Moments of silence followed and people were perplexed. Until a man wrapped in burial clothes, like a mummy, appeared in the tomb entrance. They quickly removed the linen from Lazarus’ resurrected body. Some people were rejoicing for what had just taken place, while others just stood.
Days after Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, it was time to go to Jerusalem to celebrate
the feast of Passover. The people, crowded in the streets, know they were about to witness what generations before them had been waiting for. They watched and waited tirelessly for THIS VERY moment – it was finally here! And on the same week of the Passover feast, no less! The anniversary of Israel’s release from slavery would now become the celebration of a new era in Israel.
As Jesus enters the town, it is alive with excitement! People crowd the streets and public places as they anticipate the arrival of the man who just gave new life to a dead man. Jesus is more than just a man – He is the chosen one. The one who is going to liberate the country from the oppression of other nations. He is going to raise Israel up in power and elevate them throughout the world, bringing complete peace, protection and power. This is a celebration like no other! The mass hoards of people shout accolades in the streets; with standing ovation, they are ready to install Jesus as king and overthrow their Roman oppressors! … …
Days pass, and here now, Jesus sits with his disciples, his closest companions, his
friends. He just finished washing the mud from their feet, and now begins to share that he must go away for a while. He struggles to get it out, knowing how deeply he will miss his beloved. Alas, they are the very reason for his departure. For their sake he is about to face the most difficult experience imaginable. Truly unfathomed by man.
As they share their last meal together, Jesus takes some bread and blesses it. He breaks it in pieces and gives it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
He now takes a cup of wine and gives thanks to God for it. He gives it to them and says,
“Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and
his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not
drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.
(this is bread section by sojourn church)
This bread and this cup…
is about a new covenant between God and you
is about righteousness given not earned
is about God fixing the sin problem once and for all
This bread and this cup…
is about how He ‘So Loved The World’
is about his faithful forgiveness
is about his reckless grace
This bread and this cup…
is about no more condemnation
is about remembering – your sins are forgiven
This bread and this cup…
is about how everything is now moving towards how it’s supposed to be
Come to the table… eat and drink
Invite people to COMMUNION
SING “Love Came Down” – Bethel
2. Jesus is condemned to death
As Pontius Pilate collected himself, he could hear the crowd outside stirring with contempt. Pilate exhaled slowly and thought to himself,
“I will not be responsible for the death of an innocent man”.
Pilate flashed through the events in his mind that unfolded in the past 24hrs. Images of the man they call Jesus were burned in his mind.
“What if he is the son of God?” he thought to himself.
Pilate could not shake the piercing authority this man Jesus possessed in His eyes. His very presence in a room demanded attention, his demeanor even in chains, was that of a king, yet his eyes spoke of a peace that could not be placed on this earth.
Pilate stepped out before the crowd… he looked over and saw Him standing, chained, broken, bloodied, and beaten…
Pilate thought in his mind “I will not be responsible for the death of an innocent man”
Pilate had a job to do as the Prefect of Judea for the Roman Empire. His job was to oversee and keep order for Rome in his appointed area. The dilemma he was facing, in concerns with this man Jesus, was one of torment Pilate was not used to. Pilate had declared this man Jesus innocent, yet the Sanhedrin and Jewish High Priest insisted of his guilt and condemnation. To appease the people and not incite an uprising which would force him to use Roman military, the options were limited. On one hand Pilate held his conscious and conviction, on the other his job and obligation to Rome.
The plan was simple, Pilate had one last shot to save this man Jesus from condemnation. During Passover it was custom that one prisoner’s death sentence could be pardoned based on popular acclaim. Pilate choose to exercise this custom and pair this man Jesus up with the most notorious prisoner in their holding cell. “Surely this will work” Pilate thought to himself as he prepared to address the crowd…
“PEOPLE OF JUDEA… I HAVE BEFORE YOU TWO PRISONERS. ONE OF WHOM IS THIS MAN JESUS WHOM DECLARES HIMSELF SON OF GOD. THE OTHER I PRESENT IS A MAN NAME BARRABAS, WHOM IS A NOTORIOUS MURDERER AND CRIMINAL.
TODAY I PRESENT YOU THE OPPORTUNITY IN CUSTOM WITH YOUR PASSOVER, TO PARDON THE DEATH PENALTY OF ONE OF THESE MEN… WHOM SHALL IT BE?”
The crowd began to escalate it’s hostility and shouting dispersed throughout yelling “Give us Barabbas!” “Crucify Jesus!”
The shouting began to escalate, and now seemed to be in unison with the entire crowd.
“GIVE US BARABBAS!!, CRUCIFY JESUS!!”
Pilate began to feel a sinking feeling in his gut, it felt like rocks weighing him down…
his fear had now become his reality…
his thoughts echoed in his mind…
“I will not be responsible for the death of an innocent man”
SING “What have we done” -Joe Day
3. Jesus carries his cross
They made him carry His own cross, but it was very clear He would not have had it any other way. He walked and stumbled. The cross beam weighed close to 200lbs and dug into his skin. The wood was not smooth and taken care of. It was broken and splintered much like Jesus’ body. Large, 6 inch stray pieces of wood stick out of the crossbeam and force themselves into His skin. With every sway and every wobble they tear at his flesh. His head pounds from the thorns pressed into his scalp. Every movement is labored. Every movement is difficult. Every movement is painful.
[pause] Every step is deliberate.
He carries His own cross and it’s weight is far greater than a physical one. Each movement is a physical and spiritual reminder of His true purpose. Each time the beam grates on his skin and crashes into his skull is a reminder of the real cost of not pressing forward. Steps of forgiveness. Steps of grace. Sandals man is not worthy to tie, dragging in the dirt and blood towards Golgotha…Calvary. God’s restorative plan sealed by selflessness. A selfless walk and a weight only ONE man could bear.
4. Jesus falls
My beloved Jesus, it is not the weight of the cross, but of my sins, which has made Thee suffer so much pain.
There is only so much one can bear before the body refuses to respond. Even the most disciplined of men are not without limit. Today we watch as Jesus, wholly God, demonstrates that He is also wholly human. He moves without caution, without a second thought. Yet it is the wounds he bears which slow his pace. The lashings and beatings of the soldiers, have removed the veil of skin over His flesh and bone. Now, all can observe as his torn muscles and tendons struggle to carry not only his frame, but his own cross. Eight paces…Nine…He suddenly collapses to the dust and the heavy cross crashes onto his body, scraping the mangled flesh of his back and crushing the thorny wreath against his skull. Jesus’ body is pinned to the ground. The soldiers kick at his limbs and sides multiple times before they realize He lacks the ability to get up on his own. Finally they lift the cross off his back, and at his own will and power, Jesus forces himself back to his feet. He stands once again.
By the merits of this first fall, may He deliver us from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin.
SING “Our Father” – Bethel
5. Jesus meets his mother
The faces. The faces of anger, of disdain, of contempt. The faces of judgment, the eyes of scorn must have seared into Jesus’ mind but in the sea of hatred, over the roar of animosity was a softer face. A face of love, a face of compassion. Eyes that had reflected love, tenderness and adoration since his birth. That face must of stood in such stark contrast to the many other faces that surrounded him. The face and the eyes of his mother. Her face must have brought mixed emotions. Jesus must have found comfort and solace in seeing his mother but that must have been mixed with anguish in knowing that it hurt her to see him this way and that she couldn’t remove his pain and fear like she did when he was a child. She couldn’t pull him back under her protection like she had when he was left at the temple. For Mary, the heartbreak must have shattered her. Her eldest son, her baby, her miracle child. Why would God choose her to receive this miracle if he was only going to tear himself away from her, like this? The devastation of a mother watching her son condemned to death, suffering and on his way to his execution must have hung in the air, but there was no humanity from the crowds or the roman soldiers. No time for a soft moment of compassion, or love. No humanity that would allow one last embrace between a mother and her child.
Quickly as their eyes met they drifted away again and the man who was the savior to the world, but a child to this mother, continued on the path to the cross.
SING “Joy/It is well” – PAGE CXVI
6. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
As I left the countryside to return back to the city of Jerusalem, I had sensed something very troubling that day. I could not describe what or why, but my heart was heavy with grief. The feeling of discomfort was not a stranger to me. I have traveled many miles, and endured many things. However since living in Jerusalem and worshipping in the synagogues I have not experienced this type of grief before.
As I approached the city my heart became heavier and heavier… I could hear the crowds, well before I could see them. Shouting, laughing, wailing… all blended together in a chaotic symphony. As I approached closer I began to realize the commotion. A crucifixion sentence was being carried out. Someone had been found guilty, and condemned to die.
My heart filled with this unspeakable grief, mixed with an incurable curiosity that compelled me toward the center of the chaos. As I passed through the shoulders, there I saw him. His face was covered in blood and disfigured, but his eyes were unmistakable. As I stood there paralyzed with fear, shock, horror, and disbelief… I was interrupted by a sudden jerk of my shoulder.
“YOU! PICK UP HIS CROSS!” (a soldier shouting)
My mind had no time to process what was happening, before I knew it I was being forced by a centurion, to bear the cross of a man I had known as Jesus. Confused, and scared my muscles began to move on their own. I was so numb with the horror of the situation, the cross had almost no weight to it. My adrenaline consumed me, and my mind raced with flashes of this man Jesus preaching and teaching in the Synagogue, and then back to my present horror of his condemnation.
7. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
The first nail didn’t meet flesh. The first nail was used to hang a sign. A sign that was meant to embarrass, to humiliate to mock this man who claimed to be God. The first nail held a piece of wood on which read “King of the Jews” , a partially true statement but incomplete for this man was in fact king of all. Crucifixion was meant to humiliate, to send a message to those who stood as witnesses. It was meant to ensure that those watching would be sure to think twice about carrying on this man’s cause. Exhausted, beaten and in pain, Jesus is laid down on top of the crossbeam he has just carried. As his arms are stretched out along the beam did he resist? Did this man, fully God but fully man pull back from the excruciating moment that was inevitable. Even if he did, it was futile; with no energy left in his beaten body he was no match for the fit and muscular Roman soldier. The nail, 7 inches in length was placed against his wrist and the first strike broke the skin as Jesus cried out in pain. It probably took 2 or three swings of the hammer for the tip of the nail to embed in the wood of the crossbeam. As painful and torturous as this was, it was only the beginning for this would be repeated through the other wrist. Likely, Jesus’ wrists were also tied tightly with a leather strap before the crossbeam was lifted and secured to the center post. As it was set into place the slow and painful process of dying began.
8. Jesus’ clothes are taken away
Jesus and the soldiers arrive at Golgotha, the place of the skull. It’s right outside the walls of Jerusalem, a place near enough to the city that those coming in and out could read the inscription ‘Jesus of Nazareth – King of the Jews’. Simon drops the cross and melts into the distance. For the final time, the soldiers seize the son of God, and strip him of all his clothing. His bare body is hurled to the ground, and his limbs are hammered to the wooden beams with iron stakes. The cross is lifted up, and they fasten it in place.
After crucifying Jesus, the soldiers took his clothes, and divided them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. Not wanting to tear it and lose its value,they say to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” The men showed more care for pieces of cloth than the man who they covered. This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”
SING “At the foot of the Cross” – Kathryn Scoot
9. Jesus dies on the cross (two voices needed)
We have been standing here for hours, watching and listening. It is getting so dark. A bleak sky covers everything. What is going on? Is he really who he says he is? He can’t be…
[JESUS VOICE: My God, my God why have you forsaken me?]
[pause] he must be calling to elijah… will elijah take him down?
[JESUS VOICE: I’m thirsty]
Near me is a jar full of sour wine. A man dips a sponge into it and pulls it out dripping the drink onto the dirt where the cross was dragged just hours ago. He sticks the sponge onto the end of a hyssop branch and rushes over to Jesus with it. He reaches up to hold it to jesus’ mouth. Wine spills from the sponge, mixes with Jesus blood and pours down the stick onto the mans arm. He pulls it away and takes a step back. I can see his face go pale as he looks at his arms marked in red.
He is frozen…Why isn’t he moving back to where he once stood?
The man then collapses on the ground in front of the cross and wails in grief…or is it more than grief.
I feel this urge to reach out and comfort him, but I must stay in my post. So much spinning around in my brain. I have never seen a crucifixion like this before. My heart is racing.
[JESUS VOICE: It… is… finished]
[pause] my mind is clear… my heart is different… This man.. This…. Jesus…
Truly He was the Son of God!
SING “In Your Presence” – Jason Upton
10. Jesus is taken down from the cross
As quickly as the chaos began, it has ended. The sky has turned back to a calm blue, and the crowds have made their way back to their homes or their business of the day. Nicodemus and Joseph gently place broad straps under the arms and knees of Jesus and using wooden pegs, softly strike the back of the nails to guide them out of Jesus’ wrists. The nails easily slide out of the wounds, enlarged by the weight of the body. Jesus is softly lowered, with love and adoration, to his knees and laid delicately on the ground.
This taking down of Jesus from the cross was inexpressibly touching. Everything was done with so much precaution, so much tenderness, as if fearing to cause Jesus additional pain. Those engaged in it were filled with love and reverence. All were looking up with eyes riveted, and accompanying every movement were, tears, and gestures of pain and grief. But no word was uttered. When the men performing the task gave expression to their reverent emotion it was as if involuntarily, as if they were performing some solemn function; and when necessary to communicate and give directions to one another, they did it in few words and in a whispered tone. When the blows of the hammer by which the nails were driven out resounded, Mary and Mary Magdalene, as well as those that remained and had been present at the Crucifixion, were pierced with fresh grief, for the sound reminded them of the cruelty and sorrow felt when Jesus was nailed to the cross. They shuddered, as if expecting again to hear His piercing cries, and grieved anew over His death proclaimed by the silence of those lips. As soon as his Body was taken down, the men wrapped it in linen from the knees to the waist, and laid it on a sheet in His Mother’s arms which, in anguish and devoted longing, were stretched out to receive hold her baby, her only son one last time.
11. Jesus is laid in the tomb
It is so difficult to see Jesus like this. Lifeless. Broken and battered. Scarred. The same man who was just days before giving hope and life now lays in front of us on a cloth and His spirit gone…
His body is wrapped in linen and covered with spices. Mary holds him and the smell of the mixture of myrrh and aloes permeate the air. We sit in silence knowing we need to be speedy in burying him, but also wanting to soak in every last moment. I want to remember every smell. The myrrh envelopes me and I pray I never forget this moment when we lost a friend. A rabbi.
The one we waited for… The one we killed.
In a garden near by was a tomb that no body has been laid in yet.
We lay Jesus’ body in the tomb. A grave. A place of death finality in the midst of a garden. A place of life and new hope.
For now… it truly does seem to be… Finished.
SING “For The Cross” – Bethel