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Good Friday Sermon Notes

Good Friday

Today we celebrate Good Friday

Better to call it Holy Friday

When we look at the events of Calvary and examine the suffering that Jesus endured it can be hard to call this day good

On this day He would be deserted

He would be falsely accused

He would be scourged

He would be mocked before Roman soldiers who would kneel down before saying hail King of the Jews and then slap him across the face

They would shove a crown of thorns in His head

And place a purple robe around Him

After mocking Him Jesus would ascend the hill of Calvary

We begin in Luke 23:26

Luke 23:26-43

26 Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. 27 And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”


It is believed that Simon had come from almost 800 miles away

On this day he had no idea he would carry the cross of Jesus

But it shows us how beaten and broken the body of Jesus was

Usually a condemned criminal would carry the cross beam to the crucifixion site

But Jesus was so beaten and broken He was not able to carry it


As those who look on at the suffering of Jesus they weep

But Jesus speaks of the coming judgement of Israel at the rejection of their Messiah

Almost 40 years later the temple would be destroyed in 70 AD

The Romans would invade and remove the Jews from the land

Sadly the Messiah walked before them, they saw his miracles and heard His words

But instead of embracing Him, they rejected Him

Luke 23:32-34b

32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 [a]Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Jesus was crucified between two criminals

Most likely these men had committed the same crimes as Barabbas

Jesus took the place of Barabbas

Not only taking the place of Barabbas but all of humanity

But this was done to fulfill the word of God

Isaiah 53:12

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,And He shall divide the [a]spoil with the strong,Because He poured out His soul unto death,And He was numbered with the transgressors,And He bore the sin of many,And made intercession for the transgressors.

But it is the words that Jesus spoke from the cross

Father forgiven them for they know not what they do

Jesus would speak seven times from the cross

This was the first

From the other gospel accounts we know that both of the criminals next to Jesus mocked Him in the beginning

Mark 15:25-32 25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26 And the inscription of His [d]accusation was written above:


27 With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. 28 [e]So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.”

29 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”

31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and [f]believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.

At the beginning both men reviled Jesus

But after Jesus spoke these words “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Something changed in the heart of one of these criminals

The word criminal hear can also mean evil doer: someone who does evil deliberately; especially someone who deserves to be punished for their acts. [1]

Both of these men deserved the punishment they were given

Most likely both of these men were not only rebels but they had also committed murder

But regardless of the depths of our sin what we truly deserve is the wrath of God

But God in His mercy sent His Son

God in His mercy took our place

God in His mercy took the scourging, took the crown of thorns, took the suffering and humiliation, took the nails

Luke 23:34b-42

And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”

36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”

38 And an inscription also was [b]written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:


39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, [c]“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said [d]to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Both criminals heard Jesus say “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”

But the response of the first criminal was to begin to hurl abuse and blaspheme Jesus

He screams at Jesus from the cross “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

His words are filled with unbelief

He says if mocking Jesus and who He is

But the second criminal responds 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said [d]to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

He not only rebukes the man for his blasphemy

But he admits his guilt and his sin

He understands that he deserves the cross and the suffering

But He also recognizes that Jesus is innocent

He not only recognizes Jesus is innocent, but He recognize Jesus as Almighty God

He calls Him Lord

This word means Lord, master, supremacy, supreme, controller

In the Septuagint it referred to Israel’s God

On the cross in this moment the Holy Spirit has opened this man’s eyes to the truth of who Jesus is

Both criminals experienced the same things at the side of Jesus

Both of them were nailed to the cross because of their crimes

Both of them heard the insults from the crowds, the religious leaders, and the roman soldiers

But we see the grace and mercy of Almighty God at work

Jesus said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”

During Jesus earthly ministries He had taught His disciples in Luke 6:27-31 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

This criminal has no time to get water baptized

Do any good works

Love anyone

But he simply asks “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

What is Jesus response?

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

The word of God tells us in Romans 10:9-13 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The reason we call this day Good Friday because it is here our debt was paid

Because of Good Friday though we deserve the wrath and punishment of God we receive His mercy and forgiveness instead

Because of Good Friday though we deserve hell, the door and invitation of heaven is open to us

Because of Good Friday that we can exchange our life of brokenness and for the new life that is found in Jesus

Because of Good Friday we can exchange our sin for the righteousness and perfection of Jesus

This day is known as Good Friday because the love of God was demonstrated for all to see and His salvation, forgiveness, and brand new life is offered because of all that Jesus endured


[1] Rick Brannan, ed., Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Lexham Research Lexicons (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020).

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