THE RULE OF 4’s
1 – Man
2 – Pieces of Wood
3 – Nails
4 – Given
This is my slant on a piece that has been circling the internet for years!
Good Friday, which honors the day Christ was crucified and died, is perhaps the third most important of days in the history of Christianity. Only Easter Sunday, the day of His resurrection and Christmas Day, the day we remember Christ’s birth, are considered to be greater, or at least as great as, this day!
The celebration of the day is ancient with evidence existing of special practices commemorating the day occurring as early as the 4th century. Marking the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life, Good Friday has become a day of penance and fasting for many and the practice venerating the cross was also begun, most likely in Jerusalem, in the 6th or 7th century. (The “Veneration of the Cross” is a specific ceremony in the Good Friday liturgy as well as a simple devotional practice that can be performed by the faithful, usually members of the Roman or Orthodox Catholic Churches. Venerating a cross is simply the humble act of kissing a crucifix. It must be a crucifix and not a bare cross; if the body of Jesus Christ is not represented on the cross, then it is not considered to be a crucifix and therefore, you cannot make a true veneration!)
As the day Christ died on the cross, the Friday before Easter is the most somber day in the Christian calendar. Even if you’re not a practicing Christian, you can understand the need to symbolize His death and resurrection, by sharing with me a few of the traditions observed by the faithful, yet today!
- Cover all crosses, pictures and statues in black and extinguish all candles to symbolize mourning for Christ’s death.
- Attend your church’s Good Friday service. Many churches reenact the Passion of Christ on Good Friday, traditionally held in mid-afternoon at Catholic churches, although some churches have moved it to later in the day to enable more people to attend. In other churches, the drama occurs on Palm Sunday and the Good Friday services are more simple and solemn.
- Participate in the Holy Communion, given at Catholic and other churches. Keep in mind that only baptized Catholics who have made their First Communion should receive communion in a Catholic church.
- Consider attending the Stations of the Cross (a Catholic tradition) at the Good Friday service, where paintings and banners are used to represent scenes depicting the end of Jesus’s life, from his betrayal to his death. Participants can sing hymns and pray as they move from station to station.
Last year at this time I shared a piece that I found online in the March 16th, 2012 edition of the newsletter@Godvine.com. It was shared again recently by a colleague on his website which seemed to me a prophetic reminder of the need to re-post it once more, here on my page. It examines the last moments of Christ from a scientific slant, and reading it might give you some insight into exactly what the Son of God suffered physically, that day two thousand years ago!
THE (SCIENTIFIC) DEATH OF JESUS
- At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to the death penalty.
- At the time crucifixion was the “worst” death. Only the worst criminals condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned to death by crucifixion, Jesus was to be nailed to the cross by His hands and feet.
- Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long.
- The nails were driven into His wrist. Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There’s a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist, that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breathe.
- Both of His feet were nailed together. Thus He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross. Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breathe. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.
- Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours.Yes, over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of suffering?
- A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water from his wounds.
- From common images, we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side… But do we realize His wounds were actually made in his body. A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even large nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear.
- But before the nails and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten. The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body. The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. The crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have survived this torture.
- He had no more blood to bleed out, only water poured from His wounds. The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters (just less than a gallon) of blood.
- Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His side.
- All these without mentioning the humiliation He passed after carrying His own cross for almost 2 kilometers (1.242 miles), while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones. The cross was almost 30 kg (66.14 lbs) of weight, only for its higher part, where His hands were nailed.
- Jesus had to endure this experience, so that we can have free access to God. So that our sins could be “washed” away. All of them, with no exception!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 ESV
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