Good Friday -- the day the Son of Man was crucified on Golgotha!
by Elizabeth Menon

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Good Friday -- the day the Son of Man was crucified on Golgotha!

The faithfuls believe that the Son of Man was crucified for the forgiveness of the sins of Mankind, a 'Good event' for the 'Goodness' of the human race for eternity, and therefore, that Friday is celebrated as 'Good Friday' the world over. And it is called 'Dukha Velliyaazcha'(Mournful Friday) in Kerala, and 'Holy Friday/ Great Friday or Mournful Friday in different parts of the world. Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for their sins “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani”, Jesus cried out at the ninth hour, which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” As he gave up His spirit, the whole country was covered in darkness that lasted for three hours, the curtain at the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, earth shook and the rocks split. (Matt 27: 46,51) -- "He really was the Son of God", said the army officer who watched all the happenings at the crucifixion!

Jesus is clearly depicted as one who is in control of his destiny and nothing in the world can take away that spiritual aura and confidence. "You have authority over me only because it was given to you by God", He told Pilate, the Roman governor, during the trial. And finally, Pilate told the crowd, "I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing”! “Let the responsibility for his death fall on us and our children", the crowd shouted. And ever since, people around the globe have been wondering why the Jews have been persecuted; perhaps it may have something to do with that thoughtless statement in front of the Son of Man and Pilate on that day - that's my line of thinking, anyway!

Jesus celebrated the Passover Festival with his disciples and during this special supper, 'The Last Supper', He said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me; the Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him” (Mark14: 21); Jesus told Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly". As soon as Judas went, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him” (John13: 27, 31); Jesus added, “But how then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say “It must happen this way”? Over the centuries, Christianity has portrayed Judas as the betrayer, the disciple who took the thirty pieces of silver from the High Priests and a traitor with qualities such as greed, hypocrisy and unfaithfulness. The name Judas represents evil in the Christian history - German law even forbids parents to give a child the name Judas! According to the four Gospels, Judas was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the treasurer of the group. One wonders why Judas is talked about in the literature more than any other disciples, especially when he was the least talked about in the Bible.

There is no denying the fact that it was him ‘Who handed over Jesus’ to the priests on that night at the Calvary. One should also remember here that it was 'Jesus, who chose Judas to be one of his disciples'! The handing over' on the night of the betrayal was according to the scriptures -- an act of God and therefore, should the person who carried out the will of God be ridiculed, slighted or demonized? When Judas found that his Master was condemned, he was overcome with remorse and tried to return the money. As the priests refused to accept it Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver and hanged himself. One could argue here that Judas truly believed that his Master was too powerful to be captured by the High Priests and therefore he was heart broken at what happened. But, it was God's will that the Scriptures be fulfilled. There have been many paintings based on the Last Supper and the betrayal by Judas. The most famous of them all is the 'Last Supper' by Leonardo da Vinci that represents the scene when Jesus told his disciples that one of them was going to betray him.

Celebrations vary in different parts of the world and most of the believers fast till after the '9th hour' – the Biblical day starts at 6:00 AM, making the '9th hour' for us, at 3:00 PM, and this 'Biblical 9th hour' is still followed as the time of Jesus' crucifixion, the world over! 'Way of the Cross' with processions of people carrying wooden crosses over their shoulders or flying kites made of wooden handles and the kites in the shape of a cross, fasting the whole day and breaking the fast by eating rice kanji and green gram or hot cross buns, etc are few of the celebrations. There is a deep sense of sorrow behind these celebrations, but there is also a glimmer of hope because of the resurrection of Jesus on the third day and thereby a new life for humanity! What follows the holiest day, the 'Good Friday', is 'Holy Saturday', a day for remembering the Dead, when prayers and candle vigil at the tomb of all the dear departed are held in the presence of the relatives and friends. Prayers are held in the church through the night and then it is the expectant wait for the jubilant 'Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday'!
©EMenon April2015

© E Menon



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