Welcome to the digital curation of the Good Friday art gallery held on the Doxa Church building in downtown Bellevue.
1. JESUS IS TEMPTED - MATTHEW 26:38
What’s the hardest decision you ever made? Jesus was about to die…and he knew it.
He grabbed a few of his closest friends and visited a garden he was familiar with. He then talked to his Dad, God the Father, to "take the cup from His hand”. This request demonstrated the humanity of Jesus (Luke 22:39-46). This was Jesus’ way of saying, “if there’s a plan B then let’s do that, but if this is what you want, then I’m in”. Plan A meant His death on the cross. Plan A meant public humiliation. Plan A meant unmatched physical pain. But plan A also meant that God’s children would be reconciled and have relationship with the source of all life again.
2. JESUS IS BETRAYED - MATTHEW 26:50
Has anyone ever stabbed you in the back? Judas has long been the historical archetype of betrayal. His name is synonymous with deception. Judas lived with Jesus and sat at His feet learning from Him for years. His head was full of information but his heart was never given to Jesus. This is in part why he quickly deserted his closest friends when he was tempted with material things and power. Where some people would permanently remove someone in their life that betrayed them, Jesus gives forgiveness and grace to all the disciples, who betray him at different times.
3. JESUS IS CONDEMNED - LUKE 22:53
Have you ever taken the blame for someone else? A case against Jesus would have been thrown out in any court available today, especially since no real evidence against Him could be produced. Though he was initially found innocent by Pontius Pilate, (Luke 23:13-24) the Sanhedrin, an oppressive and traditionalist sect considered Jesus a major threat to their ruling authority over the Jews. Jesus taught the people that salvation was by the grace of God and not by following the Sanhedrin's rules. This posed a serious threat to the livelihood they enjoyed as a result of their control over the Jewish people.
Even today, the message of salvation by the power and choice of God, not by our own efforts, is unpopular. Most people want at least a little credit for living a “good life” and earning a spot in heaven, but God makes it clear that he’ll share the credit with no one (Isaiah 42:8).
The errors of the Sanhedrin also show us that church leadership must live under what God says good leadership looks like. While biblical authority can be healthy and life-giving, (a mother to child, an employer to staff, a pastor to congregation) the Jewish people’s entrusting supreme religious authority to the Sanhedrin led to corruption among many of the priests and scribes of the Sanhedrin, and when Jesus began to teach a doctrine that undermined their authority, they plotted against Him, ultimately demanding His crucifixion by the Roman government (Luke 22:66-71).
4. JESUS IS MOCKED - Matthew 27:27-31
If someone embarassed you, and you had the chance to put them in their place, would you take it? The Jews had waited a long time for their prophesied rescuer to show up. Generations came and went. Simply put, Jesus did not fit the expectations of the hero they expected to show up. Everyone involved in his crucifixion responded to Jesus; some in sorrowful disappointment and others in open mockery because of the threat he posed. They stripped him naked, an extreme act of public shaming. They beat him mercilessly. The power-hungry leaders would make him an example of what happens when you refuse to feed their egos and control. The crown of thorns was a mockery, a sarcastic gesture of disgust. "Wear your crown you weak and pitiful king."
5. JESUS IS GIVEN HIS CROSS - JOHN 3:14-15
What do you look to when things get tough? Jesus initially carried his own cross to a condemned and despised place, Golgotha. He was hoisted up in the air, on display and high above the horizon. This powerful sight pointed back to a time when Moses led his people through the desert. When Moses held a snake statue a top a wooden post, God’s people experience healing. They had to keep their eyes on what was lifted on the wooden beam.
The call to us today is the same. If you ask Jesus to save you and keep you eyes on him, you will experience the power and grace of God.
6. JESUS FALLS - JOHN 12:24
What would you be willing to do for someone you love? As a result of the intense beating he suffered, Jesus was weakened to the point that he could hardly walk, much less carry the weighty wood beam across his back. The splinters that pierced his already lacerated flesh came from wood that was harvested from trees he himself created. The earth below him catching his drops of blood was dirt he himself spoke into existence. The humility and sacrificial love in these final moments are unmatched in human history.
7. SIMON CARRIES JESUS' CROSS - MATTHEW 16:24
If the police asked you to help a criminal make it to his execution, would you step in? As it became clear that Jesus would not be physically capable, the Roman guards pulled someone from the crowd to help. Simon of Cyrene might be considered a victim of circumstance. He was in Jerusalem for the annual festivities and likely knew little about the proceedings at hand. We don't know much of Simon, other than he helped to carry the cross upon which Jesus would be nailed (Luke 23:26). Ordered to help by the Roman soldiers, Simon most likely feared for his own life in light of the situation at hand. Unlike Jesus, who carried His cross willingly, Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the cross.
8. JESUS IS STRIPPED - LUKE 23:31
What would you do if you were in public and suddenly had your clothes torn off your body? Jesus is stripped of his garments. Clothing gives a man his place in society, it makes him someone. His public stripping means that Jesus is an outcast, despised by all alike. Jesus now stands naked and exposed, unclad and ashamed.
Details of Jesus’ death were prophesied hundreds of years before the day he was nailed to a cross. In fact there are 28 verified prophesies that were fulfilled the day he died. It was written that his clothes would be divided up my casting lots (similar to rolling dice or drawing straws). He would drink vinegar. He would be betrayed for silver. His bones would not be broken (which was an established part of the crucifixion process). Each detail stacks evidence that Jesus is who he says he is. The God-man, the substitute, the messiah.
An interesting detail in John states that Jesus's tunic was, "woven without seam from top to bottom" (Jn 19:23). This reference ties to the Old testament’s high priestly robe, which was "woven from a single thread", without stitching. Why would God include this detail? Because Jesus is the Crucified One, the only one between man and God, the only High Priest.
9. JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS - MATTHEW 27:46
Would you visit the execution of a loved one? It is difficult, over two thousand years after the fact, to imagine the horror of the moment as those closest to Jesus were forced to helplessly stand by as the spikes were driven through His hands and feet into the timber on which He would take His last breath (Luke 23:44-46). His loved ones and disciples did not yet fully understand the meaning of what was taking place at the time. How could they?
They were not yet able to understand that this evil deed of men was part of a divine purpose of rescue for all who would believe in Jesus Christ...that Jesus would be our substitute as a man, and enough to cover many because he was God. The perfect combination for a broken world. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
10. JESUS DIES - JOHN 15:13
Why is Jesus referred to as a sheep or lamb? In the Old Covenant (the time of God's people before Jesus walked the earth), God established a system of sacrifices that would teach God's people many things about the nature of man's relationship to God. The regular sacrifices would point forward to an ultimate and lasting sacrifice. Sheep were a part of that old covenant system. God wanted his people to see that when we break away from God's design and plan for our lives, it causes pain and death; death of relationship, death of peace, death of life itself.
At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain in the Temple, which separated men from the purest most intense presence of God (referred to as the holy of holies), tore from top to bottom. This was terrifying for all the Jews who witnessed the event, who did not realize it signified the end to the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant. No longer would man have to suffer separation from God because of sin, but we would now be able to approach the throne of grace boldly in prayer for forgiveness of sins. The life and sacrificial death of Jesus had removed the barrier of sin, making it possible for man to obtain salvation by grace.
11. JESUS IS BURIED - MATTHEW 26:12
Have you ever disagreed with the popular concensus and done something about it? After Jesus died and was taken down from the cross, He was placed in his grave owned by a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-54). Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, but opposed the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Joseph feared the consequence of acknowledging his belief publicly (John 19:38). After Jesus died, Joseph went to Pilate secretly and requested the body of Jesus so that he might provide a proper burial.
12. JESUS RISES - JOHN 10:11
The resurrection is arguably the single most significant and impactful moment in human history. That event has shaped almost every culture and people group in some form or fashion on the planet today. It is the linchpin of Christian faith, and the defining moment that Jesus proved that he is exactly who he claimed to be. Fully man and fully God.
With the resurrection we lose the ability to say that Jesus was a religious zealot or good teacher, for he appeared to over 500 witnesses after his death establishing that he wasn't simply an interesting commentator, or a crazy charismatic orator...he was the only Son of God.
Who do you think Jesus is?