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The Scriptorium

Good Friday

Really good. Luke 23

Luke 23 (7)

Pray Psalm 33.1-5.

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Sing Psalm 33.1-5.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!

Joyfully shout! His Word is true; He does His work in faithfulness.
His love prevails the whole world through; the Lord loves truth and righteousness.

Read Luke 23.1-56; meditate on verses 20-24.

1. What did Pilate want to do?

2. Why did he not do it?


In a well-known strip from Johnny Hart’s BC comic, the wizened and somewhat surly poet Wiley sits, through four panels, chiseling away at a verse. The lines of his poem appear consecutively in each panel:

Who can call Good Friday good?
Who can call Good Friday good?
They who are bought by the blood of the Lamb,
they can call Good Friday good.

Nothing good or beautiful is discernible in the events Luke reports in chapter 23 of his gospel, at least, not on the surface. Angry, vicious, lying people hand over the beautiful Savior to be mocked by a nincompoop king, brutalized by soldiers, condemned by a cowardly governor, and crucified as a public spectacle.

Where’s the good in that?

But the goodness of the Lord is in all the earth (Ps. 33.5). The goodness of the Lord was even at work in this most heinous of all episodes in human history. By Jesus’ death, sins are cancelled and death is scrapped for all who receive His sacrifice and believe in His resurrection. The good work of Jesus was infinitely painful, both physically and spiritually. But the enormity of the pain only serves to heighten the indescribable goodness of what Jesus did (2 Cor. 9.15).

The Good News did not come without great pain. And we don’t need to wait for Good Friday to come around to tell the world about the work our good Savior has accomplished for our salvation.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“The LORD has made all for Himself, yes,
even the wicked for the day of doom” (Prov. 16.4).

God uses even wicked people like Pilate, to do His will, His plan, and His work.
All of us are here for His glory.

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,
and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen,
and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
that no flesh should glory in His presence.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—
and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written,
‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD’” (1 Cor. 1.27-31).

God also uses the obedience of His people to work His plan. To perfection.
“Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils.
And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Lk. 23.56).

Those women loved Jesus. And they wanted to tend to His broken and entombed body.
Waiting for the Sabbath Day to pass must have been excruciatingly difficult.
But they did not go to Him. They obediently waited.
“Be still, and know that I AM God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46.10).

Their obedience to the Law was part of the larger plan of the resurrection.

And we know that, “All things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8.28).

Sometimes, incorrectly, people assume they know better than God, so they do what they think is best.
And we see from the deadly mayhem found in the book of Judges, how that turns out: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17.6; 21.25). “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3.18; Ps. 36.1).

Obedience to God is always the best way to go, even when we don’t understand why or how it will make sense. And as we can see from Luke 23: God uses all kinds for His Kingdom work.

How is He using you?

For reflection
1. What do we learn from Jesus about the cost and the prize of obeying God?

2. How should Jesus’ suffering guide us in thinking about life as His followers?

3. What difficulties, trials, or afflictions are you facing? How can you see that God is using these for good?

They brought the holy and just One to Pilate. They spoke violent and unrestrained words against him and poured out falsely invented accusations. They persisted in the ferocity with which they accused him. Pilate then ruled that it should be as they desired, although he had publicly said, “I find no wickedness in this man.” Cyril of Alexandria (375-444), Commentary on Luke, Homily 152

Pray Psalm 33.8-12.
Pray that the good work of Jesus will reach to multitudes who have never heard or have not yet believed, that God’s eternal plan for salvation will spread far and wide, and that the blessings of salvation will be more widely realized in all the earth.

Sing Psalm 33.8-12
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Let all below now fear the Lord; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by Jesus’ Word; let all on earth in Him confide.

He nullifies the nations’ plans; forever stands His sov’reign Word.
All they are blessed who with Him stand—the chosen people of the Lord.

T. M. and Susie Moore 

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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