Resurrecting Me: Good Friday (Matthew 27)



  • In our world, darkness is visible.
    • Streetlights surround our town/city.
    • Car head lights flood the dim roads.
    • Theatres are dark but people bring cell phones…
    • Porch & motion lights exist outside our homes.
    • Inside homes we leave a light on when we travel.
    • Night lights are in rooms or at least bathrooms.
    • Faint or glowing lights from remotes, electronics…
    • Few of us know deep and surrounding darkness.
  • Darkest in rural woods or a cavern.
  • But have you ever experienced a darkness that is not just visible but felt? In other words, there is a darkness outside AND inside the body.
    • Where the shadows feel substantial and heavy.
    • Where darkness feels thick and troublesome.
    • Where darkness becomes so real that you tremble and wonder if a new day will ever dawn.
  • The darkness of our world can be devastating.
  • Division and hate.
    • Conflict and war.
    • Violence and bloodshed.
    • Sickness, cancer, and disease.
    • Family pressure and separation.
    • Mental health statistics sky rocketing. 
  • Underneath our world and the source of darkness is an even greater malevolence.
    • Bible says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
      (Ephesians 6:12)
    • There is an entire system of spiritual darkness, spearheaded by hordes of demons and the devil himself, that rage and strategize the takeover of creation and our everyday circumstances.

It is this activity of darkness that was present during the events of what we know today as Good Friday. The cross of Jesus Christ contained humanity’s desperation, degradation, and deepest darkness. Tonight, we will share some reflections how the darkness of the cross reveals meaning for our daily life.

EXAMINE       Matthew 27:24-31; 45-47            RESURRECTING ME: GOOD FRIDAY

The cross of Jesus reveals blame-shifting is empty.

Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross based on confusion over His identity. Human history testifies to the veracity that a man named “Jesus of Nazareth” was born and lived on this earth during the 1st Century. Every sphere of society has been influenced by the fact that Jesus entered our world. 

  • Jesus was not academically trained, nor a classroom lecturer, but He has more students than any teacher of history.
  • Jesus never wrote a book, but the library of Congress holds more books about Jesus than any figure in human history.
  • Jesus never ran for political office, but more people have chosen Him as their leader and king than any empire or nation. He has more real-life followers in history than social media stats could dream.
  • Jesus was not a doctor or therapist, but the amount of people who have been healed, helped, and comforted by Him; and how hospitals and medical missionaries have developed in His name are staggering.
  • Jesus was not a model, but more artwork has featured His body and life than any of history.
  • Jesus was/is the most transformational, empowering, and inspiring person on our planet…
    • Likewise, Jesus is the most convicting and provoking person. And while Jesus is the most loved, unfortunately He is also the most hated.

The Bible describes Pilate finding no fault in Jesus or charge against Him.

  • Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night, after being betrayed by a close friend – Judas Iscariot.
  • Jesus was placed on trial before religious leaders and Roman officials over several hours. He was interrogated, mocked, and beat on multiple accounts in attempts to force some sort of retaliation or wrongdoing.

Mt 27:24 “Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water, and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this [righteous] man’s blood.” (cf Mt 27:19 Pilate’s wife warned Pilate, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man.”)

  • While Pilate shifts blame, he is still accountable. Likewise, while you may consider yourself “a good person,” and absolved of committing sin, you are mistaken. We can no more wash our hands of the cross than our sinful hearts be cleansed by a shower.

  • We must think of sin not just horizontal how we compare with others but vertical towards God.

What is sin?[1]

It is the fear of God not reverenced.

The glory of God not enjoyed.
The awesomeness of God not admired.

The beauty of God not treasured.

The goodness of God not savored.

The holiness of God not honored.

The faithfulness of God forgotten.

The power of God not believed.

The wisdom of God not cherished.

The truth of God not practiced.

The wrath of God not concerned.

The grace of God not grateful.

The Son of God not loved.

The Spirit of God not prized.

  • Therefore, the first and chief act that you could do this Good Friday is look to Jesus and pray Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (v.1-2)

The cross of Jesus reveals His blood is equalizing.

Mt 27:25 “And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

  • Pilate’s eagerness to blame-shift is matched with readiness of the people to take responsibility for Jesus’ execution. The unbelieving Gentile has a higher view of Jesus than the religious leaders, and yet both are equally guilty.
  • “All the people” highlights the fickleness of crowds who pursued Jesus for musings and miracles but turned on Him when His message called for repentance.
  • Indeed, the burden of sin and the blood of the Savior is upon us and each generation (cf. Rom 3:23; Ac 17:30; Heb 9:27).

Isaiah 53:4-6 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Mt 27:26-31 “Pilate released [the criminal] Barabbas and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him saying, ‘Hail King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.”

Roman execution was an art.[2] They had perfected crucifixion as the most painful and public mode of execution. As a general policy, women were excluded from crucifixion, unless the rare occasion deemed fitting, and then she was made to face the cross because even such a barbaric culture was unwilling to watch a female in such torturous agony.[3]

So, crucifixion was reserved for the most despised people, such as criminals, insurrectionists, or slaves. Our English word, “excruciating” literally means “from the cross.”

Before hanging the victim from a wooden cross, they were often prepared for death by scourging. The absence or lessened scourging would prolong them hanging from the beams. However, the more severe scourging speeded the death of the individual. This is noted by Jesus not having his legs broken, so to remove ability to push up to avoid asphyxiation. Crucified people could hang on the cross anywhere from a few hours to as long as multiple days[4], passing in and out of consciousness as their lungs struggled to breath while laboring under the weight of their body.

The scourging Jesus experienced was a leather whip with multiple throngs and at the end attached pieces of sharpened bone or lead. Each strike would penetrate flesh, and sometimes rip out bones or body organs.  

After this, Jesus had His wrists nailed to a wooden beam. Undoubtedly, these materials would have been recycled from previous executions.[5] He was sent to carry this cross (~100 lbs.) over several hundred yards. He was unable, so they recruited a man from the crowd to assist the beaten and bloodied Jesus. Then, they attached the horizontal to the vertical beam and nailed His ankles.

  • Jesus’ blood reminds us that God became human.
    He suffered. He empathizes with our problems and pains.

  • Theology from Princess Bride – “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling you something.” The Bible is not selling us information but showing us reality.
  • You may have tried other escapes, but have you truly tried the equalizing blood of Jesus Christ? May you express, like the crowd but with a contrasting connotation, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
  • 250 years ago from 2022, William Cowper wrote, “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.”

The cross of Jesus reveals abandonment is not eternal.

While on the cross, Jesus cries (ἀναβοάω – ana = up high, intensity / baio = shout tumultuously – – perhaps screaming repeatedly with a hoarse voice) out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Before this moment, Jesus always is full of God’s presence and feels protected and provided for from His Father. Yet, on the cross, Jesus feels forsaken.  

Previously, at Jesus’s baptism, He heard the affirmation of the Father but on the cross He felt the abandonment of the Father. The greatest pain Jesus endured went beyond whips and being nailed to wooden beams. As awful as asphyxiation is, the worst aspect of the crucifixion was Jesus experiencing separation from God the Father. We see this when Jesus prays for the first time not addressing God as His Father.

  • Galatians 3:13 Christ became “a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”

  • Yet, we can be confident through faith in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the sending of the Holy Spirit, we will never be separated from God; abandonment is never eternal.
  • Romans 8:39 “nothing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus”
  • Php 1:6 “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
  • 2Timothy 1:12 “I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.”
  • Heb 13:5 “God has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’”


  • We are reminded of God’s presence through at least 3 ways
    1) The Person of the Holy Spirit.

2) The people of God – brothers & sisters in Christ.

3) The practices of faith: spiritual disciplines… the ordinances.

[1] Adapted from John Piper,

[2] Many insights adapted from Mark Driscoll, Doctrine, p.246, ff. 

[3] Even today many men do not watch childbirth!

[4] Nine days says, Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1982), 265.

[5] Charles R. Swindoll, John, Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary (Tyndale House Publishers, 2018), 367–368.

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