More Than a Conqueror
Lyndia Grant | 3/24/2010, 10:49 a.m.
€A Good Friday Experience€
The celebration of Good Friday is ancient. The day gradually became a time of penance and fasting as the anniversary of the death of Christ. The name "Good Friday" possibly comes from "God's Friday," although the exact reason for the current name is unclear.
So many started to follow Jesus as he healed the sick, raised Lazarus from the dead and helped Simon Peter and the other disciples to bring forth a net overflowing with fish, when they had all but given up. The people saw him feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread. All of this power witnessed by the masses caused the crowds to grow.
Well, Pontius Pilate said, €If this continues, we won€t have any power, everybody will be following Jesus and our city will be destroyed!€ That is when Jesus became, €More Than a Conqueror!€
The custom of venerating the cross on Good Friday probably originated in Jerusalem in the 7th or 8th century, and continues to this day in many Western Churches. Pre-sanctified Masses are referenced held in AD 692, which means that the practice pre-dates the seventh century. Various churches observe Good Friday in addition to Catholics and Eastern Christians. Anglicans, Methodists and Lutherans all observe Good Friday to varying degrees.
Holy Week is the last week of Lent, the week immediately preceding Easter or Resurrection Sunday. It is a very special time of the year, a time when each of us takes a break by fasting and praying to purge those sins from our lives that have caused us to stumble.
It is observed in many Christian churches as a time to commemorate and enact the suffering (Passion) and death of Jesus through various observances and services. While some church traditions focus specifically on the events of the last week of Jesus€ life, many of the liturgies symbolize larger themes that marked Jesus€ entire ministry.
Evangelical churches that have tended to look with suspicion on traditional "High-Church" observances of Holy Week as Catholic churches have done for many years are now realizing the value of Holy Week services, especially on Good Friday. This has a solid theological basis both in Scripture and in the traditions of the Faith.
It is this dimension that is well served by Holy Week observances, as they call us to move behind the joyful celebrations of Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, or Easter and focus on the suffering and death that is part of Holy Week. It is important to place the hope of the Resurrection, the promise of newness and life, against the backdrop of death and endings.
In observing this truth, that new beginnings come from endings, many people are able to draw a parable of their own lives from the observances of Holy Week. In providing people with the opportunity to experience this truth in liturgy and symbolism, the services become a powerful proclamation of the transformative power of the Gospel and God at work in the lives of people.
These scriptures capture the moment: Mark 15:22-25 -- They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
You have a wealth of experience from your years of living for Christ. Take time during Holy Week and consider that you have been building value within your entire life. It is the priceless value of Christian experience and every bit of it still remains within you.
From every victory and from every defeat, think of His sacrifice and allow that experience to cause you to become wiser and more valuable each day.