Good Friday – April 15, 2022 


Pre-service Prayer    Almighty and everlasting God, our Heavenly Father, it was Your will that Your Son should bear for me the pains of the cross so that You might release me from captivity to sin, death and Satan.   Tonight and always, help me to remember and give thanks for my Savior’s Passion through which I have been given the full remission of all my sins and have been guaranteed, through faith, life everlasting in heaven   All this I ask, as I pray that You will bless my worship of You this evening, in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior and Lord.    Amen.


The Good Friday “Tennebrae” Tradition


            “Tennebrae” is the Latin word for “darkness,” and the utilization of a progressively darkened chapel this evening is intended to symbolize the darkness that covered the whole land from the sixth to the ninth hour (noon to three o’clock) on that first Good Friday.   In combination with all of the other symbolic elements that are a part of this evening’s service, we hope that the darkening of the chapel and the period of silence at the close of this service will serve as a graphic reminder to you that each one of us bears a personal responsibility for the dark burden of sin that Jesus carried to the cross and left there as our Substitute.   The “Tennebrae” Service itself is of medieval origin.  It was utilized for centuries almost exclusively by Eastern (Greek) Orthodox churches.  “Tennebrae” services, however, have become more common in western churches (including our Lutheran church) over the last two centuries.  

            We hope that you will find this approach to the commemoration of Christ’s death for us on Good Friday both to be meaningful and especially to be spiritually edifying.

And one additional note…..       


At the close of the service the Congregation is asked to leave the  chapel and the Church building in silence, reverently contemplating  the significance of Christ’s   death for all  our sins, and faithfully looking ahead to His resurrection on the third day.


          Some Notes on the Visual Symbolism Employed this Evening


            On the altar tonight is found a bare, blacked branch….black, because that color consistently is used in Scripture to express the stark realities of sin and the death (physical, spiritual and eternal) that humanity’s sins have earned for us.   The wood symbolizes our blest Redeemer’s cross.   Against this backdrop, the blood-red carnations are to remind us that “the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin”  (I John 1:7).   The red carnations are seven in number, representing the seven wounds of Christ.

            You will also find Seven Red Candles to the left of the altar this evening.  These candles are the “Seven Word Candles”  — one for each statement that Christ made while on the cross.  

            There are also seven different colored candles to the left of the pulpit this evening.  They will serve to represent all the sins in the world.   Seven is the Biblical number which is figuratively used for a “complete unit.”   Their sum total tonight symbolizes the entirety of the world’s sin, which brought Christ to the cross to make the complete death/damnation payment for all our sins.  The seven candles, respectively, serve then to remind us of:   1)  the sins of the people who have already died;    2)  the sins of the people yet to be born;    3)  the sins of people all over the world;   4)  the sins of people we don’t known;    5)  the sins of our friends;   6)  the sins of our own family;   and, finally, 7)  Our Own Sins!

            Adjacent to the lectern sits a table on which Eleven White Votive Candles have been placed.  They are intended to represent the eleven disciples of our Lord who forsook Jesus and ran into the darkness of Gethsemane.  In addition, there is one Dark Votive Candle.  It represents the one betrayer, Judas Iscariot, whose dark deeds of betrayal, deceit, unbelief and suicide, sadly speak for themselves.   Next, the Large White Candle at the center of the twelve votive disciple-candles is called “the Christ Candle”  serving to remind us that Jesus is always to be at the very center of our lives and hearts — as the one and only Light of the world and our Savior-God.

            Finally, tonight (and throughout the year in our worship services) the Two Candles on the Altar serve to symbolize the Two Natures of Christ – that is, Jesus’ Divine (Godly) nature as well as His Human nature.  He had to possess both natures to effectively be our Savior.   First, Jesus had to be fully human, because He had to be a man like us, who could live a life of absolute obedience to all God’s Law (which we are also expected to) as our Substitute, and also because He had to die the death we deserved due to our sins and to endure the separation from God/damnation of hell that we should receive for our sinfulness.    Christ also had to be fully divine to be our Redeemer, so that His innocent death (as God – the ultimate sacrifice) would be supremely sufficient to pay fully for all the sins of all mankind and, in so doing, to reconcile the human race and the Lord.



The Heritage of our Good Friday Observance   The observance of “Good Friday” in Christian circles dates back to the earliest days of the Christian Church, due in large part to its obvious, intimate connection to the Easter Sunday celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  Clearly without our Savior’s death on “Good Friday” there would be no reason for the Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord.

            Interestingly, the name “Good Friday” is a unique, and peculiarly English, expression.  It is intended to reflect the joy of completed redemption, and it also serves as something of  a “protest” against the superstitious notions that all Fridays are “unlucky” and that this particular Friday must have been shrouded in funereal gloom.   Originally (and quite appropriately – if you stop to think about it…) the title might well have been “God’s Friday.”  

            However, in those very early days, Christians preferred stressing the sufferings and death of Christ to such an extent that any hint of “joy” was excluded.   Congregations were, for example, prohibited from celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the Friday of Christ’s death.  

            Before it was known as “Good Friday,” one of the very earliest names for this day was “Parasceve,” which means “Preparation.”   Other early designations were “Day of the Lord’s Passion,”  “Day of the Absolution,”  and “Day of the Cross.”    In Germany this day continues to be known as “Karfreitag” (“Sorrow Friday”), and in keeping with the somber character of their observance, many Germans fast from 3 to 6 p.m.

            Some of the unique Christian worship traditions connected to this day include the use of a prayer known as “the Bidding Prayer” (see notes below),  and also the holding of “Tre Ora” (Latin for “three hour”) devotional services from noon to 3 p.m.  “Tre Ora” points to that period of unnatural darkness which occurred during Christ’s crucifixion  from the “sixth to the ninth hour.”                Also, Good Friday is noted for the altar having been stripped of all its vessels and left bare from Maundy Thursday evening through Holy Saturday.   In addition, until recently there had been a general reluctance (especially in European churches) to extensively use the organ, piano, or other musical instruments to accompany the day’s hymns.   Often they were instead sung “a cappella” (accompanied only by voice).   Finally, “Tennebrae” (Darkness) worship services are also employed by many congregations..   For centuries they were utilized almost exclusively by Eastern (Greek) Orthodox churches, but in recent years they have become quite common in western churches also.            

            Eastern/Greek Orthodox churches, incidentally, have traditionally and consistently placed a greater worship emphasis on the Good Friday observance of Jesus’ death for the world’s sins than on His resurrection celebration on Easter morning.   Accordingly they employ very elaborate, dramatic, and symbolic Good Friday observances, such as “Tennebrae.”   On the other hand, Western churches (European and American….such as ours) customarily place a greater worship emphasis on the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning.    Ultimately, both groups have the Christian freedom to devoutly observe both occasions as they choose – provided such observances are in accord with God’s Word.

            This evening one very special element of our Good Friday worship service will be our use of the over 1600 year old  “Bidding Prayer” – a feature that has been an historic part of Christian Good Friday observances for many centuries.   The genesis for the Bidding Prayer can actually be traced all the way back to the ancient, Old Testament Jewish synagogue service.  There – after the Scripture lessons – prayers routinely were offered for members of the Jewish community and its needs.  The early Christians expanded upon this idea, familiar to so many of them because the Church of that time contained many converts from Judaism.  One of the Church’s 2nd century “fathers,” Justin Martyr, writes of a primitive litany prayer which often was recited after the Gospel lesson had been read.   Early on, the Eastern Church developed a “deacon’s litany” during which one of the congregation’s deacons read a rather lengthy prayer.   After each of the prayer’s petitions, the choir and congregation would respond, “Lord have mercy” and/or “Amen.”   One of the Western Church’s early service orders, known as the Roman liturgy, also contained a deacon’s litany called “the Prayer of the Faithful.”  By the fifth century this service order and the Prayer of the Faithful were no longer in common use, except for the latter’s annual presence — following the Gospel reading – as “The Bidding Prayer” in the traditional Good Friday service.  The 16th century Lutheran Reformers saw value in retaining this prayer as a part of the Church’s worship heritage and practice;   hence its inclusion in this evening’s service.  The “Bidding Prayer” that we will use tonight is, with only slight variation, the same prayer text that was in use during the 5th century.   Employing it on this solemn occasion not only joins us with each other, but with those Christian martyrs, confessors, servants and believers of every age.

            We hope that this information about Good Friday, as well as our commemoration of Christ’s death for us will be both meaningful and especially spiritually edifying for you tonight.      



Silent prayer upon entering the sanctuary                                                                                    Pre-worship Music




The Introduction to Worship


The Invocation                       


P:         “We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit  Amen.

P:         All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way,

            C:        and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


P:         The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him.  

            C:        And by His wounds we are healed.                               



The Opening Hymn                                                                                           “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”


All       “O sacred Head, now wounded,   With grief and shame weighed down,

             Now scornfully surrounded   With thorns Your only crown.

             O sacred Head, what glory,   Now from Your face does shine!

             Yet, tho’ despised and gory,   I joy to call You mine.


Lectern Side

            Men mock and taunt and jeer You,    They smite Your countenance,

            Tho’ mighty worlds shall fear You    And flee before Your glance.

            How pale You are with anguish,    With sore abuse and scorn!

            Your eyes with pain now languish   That once were bright as morn!


Pulpit Side

            My burden in Your passion,     Lord, You have born for me,

            For it was my transgression     My shame on Calvary

            I cast me down before You;    Wrath is my rightful lot.

            Have mercy, I implore You;    Redeemer, spurn me not.


Men & Boys

            What language shall I borrow    To thank You dearest Friend,

            For this Your dying sorrow,   Your pity without end?

            Oh make me Yours forever!    And keep me strong and true;

            Lord, let me never, never,    Outlive my love for You.


Women & Girls

            My Savior, then be near me    When death is at my door;

            And let Your presence cheer me,     Forsake me nevermore!

            When soul and body languish     Oh, leave me not alone,

            But take away my anguish    By virtue of Your own!


All        Lord, be my Consolation,    My Shield when I must die;

            Remind me of Your Passion    When my last hour draws nigh.

            My eyes will then behold You,    Upon Your cross will dwell,

            My heart will then enfold You.    Who dies in faith  dies well.  




Pastor –            Brothers and sisters in Christ.  Our God invites us to come into His presence and worship Him with humble and penitent hearts. Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.


Congregation   Miserable person that I am, I confess and lament to You, O most holy God, that I am  a weak and sinful creature, guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy.  I also confess that Your Word has  not brought

forth good fruit in me.  I hear it,  but do not receive it  earnestly.  I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.  I am full of anger, hate, and envy.  I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.  Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.  Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins, strengthen my faith, and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word, that I may obtain Your promised grace


Pastor            Having faithfully confessed your sins, now hear Your heavenly Father’s promise of forgiveness to you.  Jesus explained God’s will and promise as clearly as possible in John 6:40 when He said,  “For my Father’s will is

that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day.”  And now, carrying out my office as a called servant of the Living Word, I proclaim the grace and mercy of God to all of you, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, and in His place, I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Peace be with you.  Amen.



Congregational Response                                                                 Hymn 127 “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”


Here we have a firm foundation,   Here the Refuge of the lost;

Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,   His the name of which we boast.

Lamb of God for sinners wounded,    Sacrifice to cancel guilt.

None shall ever be confounded    Who on Him their hope have built.    Amen.



The Psalm for this Evening                                                                       Psalm 22, selected verses


Pastor:              My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?

Congregation   Why are You so far from saving Me,  so far from the words of My groaning?


P:         O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer,   by night, and am not silent.

C:        Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One;  You are the Praise of Israel.


P:         In You our fathers put their trust;  they trusted and You delivered them.

C:        They cried to You and were saved;  in You they trusted and were not disappointed.                   


P:         But I am a Worm and not a Man, scorned by men and despised by the people.   All who see Me mock Me;  they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

C:        “He trusts in the Lord;  let the Lord rescue Him.  Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.”


P:         Yet You brought Me out of the womb;   You made Me trust in You even at My mother’s breast.

C:        From birth I was cast upon You;   from My mother’s womb You have been My God.


P:         Do not be far from Me, for trouble is near and there in no one to help

C:        I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint.    My heart has turned to wax;  it has melted away within Me.


P:         My strength is dried up like a potsherd,  and My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth.  You lay Me in the dust of death.

C:        Dogs have surrounded Me;  a band of evil men has encircled Me,  they have pierced My hands and My feet.


P:         I can count all My bones;  people stare and gloat over Me.

C:        They divide My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing


P:         You who fear the Lord, praise Him!   For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the Afflicted One.

C:        He has not hidden His face from Him   but has listened to His cry for help.



after which the Congregation may be seated for


The Second Hymn                                                                                                         “The Old Rugged Cross”

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross

The emblem of suff’ring and shame

And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best

 For a world of lost sinners was slain


Refrain     So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies at last I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world

Has a wondrous attraction for me

For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above

To bear it to dark Calvary    Refrain

In the old rugged Cross, stain’d with blood so divine

A wondrous beauty I see

For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above

To pardon and sanctify me   Refrain


To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true

 Its shame and reproach gladly bear

Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away

 Where his glory forever I’ll share   Refrain


As we gather the offering for this evening, we will pass offering plates throughout the chapel.    For those watching this service online, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to our church address

(415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745);   OR

2) You can go online to our website (  and use the giving option there.

Our Offerings of Love to our Lord  



C          Let us pray for the whole Christian Church, that our Lord God would defend her against all the assaults and temptations of the Devil,   and keep her perpetually on the true foundation, Jesus Christ:


P          Almighty and everlasting God, since You have revealed Your glory to all nations in Jesus Christ and in the Word of His truth, keep, we ask You, in safety the works of Your mercy so that Your Church, spread throughout all the nations, may be defended against our Adversary and may serve You in true faith and persevere in the confession of Your name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray for all the ministers of the Word, for all vocations in the church, and for all the people of God:


P          Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified, receive the supplications and prayers which we offer before You for all Your servants in Your holy Church that every member of the same may truly serve You according to Your calling; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray for those in our confirmation classes, that our Lord God would open their hearts and the door of His mercy so that, having received the remission of all their sins by the washing of regeneration, they may be mindful of their Baptism,  and evermore be found in Christ Jesus, our Lord:


P          Almighty God and Father, because You always grant growth to Your Church, increase the faith and understanding of our catechumens that, rejoicing in their new birth by the water of Holy Baptism, they may forever continue in the family of those whom You adopt as Your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray for all in authority,   that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty:


P          O merciful Father in heaven, because You hold in Your hand all the might of man and because You have ordained, for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do well, all the powers that exist in all the nations of the world, we humbly pray You graciously to bless Your servants, especially for our nation’s President; the Congress of the United States; our Governor; the Legislature of our State, and all others in government who make, administer, and judge our laws;   that all who receive the sword as Your ministers may bear it according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray our Lord God Almighty;   that He would deliver the world from all error,   take away disease, ward off famine, set free those in bondage, grant health to the sick, and a safe journey to all who travel:


P          Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in all their necessities they may rejoice in Your manifold help and comfort; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray for all who are outside the Church,   that our Lord God would be pleased to deliver them from their error,    call them to faith in the true and living God,    and His only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and gather them into His family, the Church:


P          Almighty and everlasting God, because You seek not the everlasting death but the eternal life of all, hear our prayers for all who have no right knowledge of You, free them from their error, and for the glory of Your name bring them into the fellowship of Your holy Church; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray for peace,    that we may come to the knowledge of God’s holy Word,    and walk before Him as is fitting for Christians:


P          Almighty and everlasting God, King of Glory, and Lord of heaven and earth, by whose Spirit all things are governed, by whose providence all things are ordered, the God of peace and the author of all concord, grant us, we implore You, Your heavenly peace and concord that we may serve You in true fear, to the praise and glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

C          Amen.  


Let us pray for our enemies,   that God would remember them in mercy,   and graciously grant them such things      as are both needful for them and profitable for their salvation:


 P         O almighty, everlasting God, through Your only Son, our blessed Lord, You have commanded us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us. We therefore earnestly implore You that by Your gracious visitation all our enemies may be led to true repentance and may have the same love and be of one accord and one mind and heart with us and with Your whole Christian Church; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


Let us pray for the fruits of the earth,   that God would send down His blessing upon them and graciously dispose our hearts to enjoy them  according to His own good will:


P          O Lord, Father Almighty, by Your Word You created and You continue to bless and uphold all things. We pray You so to reveal to us Your Word, our Lord Jesus Christ that, through His dwelling in our hearts, we may by Your grace be made ready to receive Your blessing on all the fruits of the earth and whatsoever pertains to our bodily need; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

C          Amen.


P          Finally, let us pray for all those things for which our Lord would have us ask, saying:

C  Our Father, who art in heaven:  hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come,  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread;  and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.





What follows is a series of brief expositions on the seven words which our Savior spoke while on the cross.  Following each of the readings, a congregation hymn or vocal selection will be sung.  After each musical selection, the lights of the sanctuary will be dimmed or turned out  in order both to depict the physical darkness that covered the whole land from the sixth to the ninth hour on that first Good Friday, and especially to symbolize the darkness of our sins for which our precious Savior suffered and died that we might be forgiven.   When all the lights in the sanctuary have been extinguished, we will observe a minute of silence in the darkness, after which the Pastor will offer the concluding words of this evening’s service.   The congregation will then be asked to exit the chapel in silence, solemnly pondering the magnitude of Christ’s self-sacrifice for the sins of the world.


The Third Hymn                                                                                                                   “Were You There?”


Were you there, when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there, when they crucified my Lord?

Oh!…….Sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there, when they crucified my Lord?


Were you there, when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there, when they nailed Him to the tree?

Oh!…….Sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there, when they nailed Him to the tree?


Were you there, when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there, when they laid Him in the tomb?

Oh!…….Sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there, when they laid Him in the tomb?


Were you there when God raised Him from the grave?

Were you there when God raised Him from the grave?

Oh!…….Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when God raised Him from the grave?


The First Word




Tonight’s Choral Selection                                                                                               Jesus, Lamb of Calvary


Jesus, Lamb of Calvary, Let me hid myself in Thee

Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,

For my sin the perfect plea,   Jesus, Lamb of Calvary.


Jesus, Lamb of Calvary,   None have I to help but Thee

Could my zeal no respite know,   Could my tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone.   Thou must save and Thou alone.


Jesus Lamb of Calvary, As I am I come to Thee

Take my spotted, sinful dress,   Clothe me with Thy righteousness

Let Thy blood my cleansing be, Jesus, Lamb of Calvary.



The First Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for the Son of People who have died.

The Judas Iscariot and Simon the Zealot Disciple Candles.

The First Word Candle.


+ + + + + + +


Jesus’ Second Word




Tonight’s Choral Selection                                                                                                                                           “Drawn to the Cross”


Drawn to the cross, which you have blessed

with healing gifts for souls distressed,

to find in you my life, my rest,

Christ crucified, I come.


Wash me and take away each stain;

let nothing of my sin remain.

For cleansing through your cross and pain,

Christ crucified, I come.


And then for work to do for Thee,

which shall so sweet a service be

that angels well might envy me,

Christ crucified, I come.



The Second Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for the Sins of People not yet born

The James the Less and Jude Disciple Candles

The Second Word Candle


+ + + + + + +


The Third Word of Jesus





The Hymn                                                                              “Our Blessed Savior Seven Times Spoke”   Verse 4

                                                                                   (sung to the melody of ‘In You, O Lord, have I put My Trust‘ #448)


To weeping Mary, standing by     “Behold, thy son,” now hear Him cry;

To John, “Behold thy mother.”

Provide, O Lord, for those we leave;  Let each befriend the other.


The Third Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for the Sins of People all over the world

The Thomas and Matthew Disciple Candles

The Third Word Candle


+ + + + + + +


Christ’s Fourth Word



A Congregational Hymn                                                                                “Throned Upon the Awe-ful Tree”


Savior, silent through three hours,

   wrestling with the evil pow’rs,

left alone with human sin,   gloom around You and within,

’til th’appointed time is nigh,   as the Lamb of God….You die.


Oh, that cry of Your distress   

Piercing through the great darkness!

You, the Father’s only Son,   You, His own Anointed One,

You now ask Him–can it be?–   “Why have You forsaken me?”


The Fourth Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for the Sins of People we don’t know

The Bartholomew and Philip Disciple Candles

The Fourth Word Candle

+ + + + + + +


The Fifth Word of our Savior                                                                                                                             



The Response Hymn                                                                            “Jesus, in Your Thirst and Pain”   verse 1


Jesus in Your thirst and pain,     While Your wounds Your life-blood drain

Thirsting more our love to gain;       Hear us, holy Jesus.


The Fifth Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for the Sins of our Friends

The James the Elder and John Disciple Candles

The Fifth Word Candle       

+ + + + + + +

The Sixth Word of our Savior


A Vocal Solo                                                                                                                                “Lamb of God”

                                                                                                                                                   Sung by Tom Otto

Your only Son no sin to hide

But You have sent Him from Your side

To walk upon this guilty sod

And to become the Lamb of God

Your gift of love they crucified

They laughed and scorned Him as He died

The humble King they named a fraud

And sacrificed the Lamb of God

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet Lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious Blood

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God

I was so lost I should have died

But You have brought me to Your side

To be led by Your Staff and Rod

And to be call a lamb of God

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet Lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious Blood

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God

The Sixth Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for the Sins of our Families

The Andrew and Peter Disciple Candles

The Sixth Word Candle

The Gospel Candle                    The Epistle Candle

+ + + + + + +

Our Savior’s Final Word




The Closing Vocal Selection                                                                                    How Deep The Father’s Love

                                                                                                                                        sung by Danielle Ashley

How deep the Father’s love for us    How vast beyond all measure

That He would give His only Son    To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss   The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the chosen One   Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross   My sin upon His shoulders    Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers   It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished   His dying breath has brought me life   I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything   No gifts, no powr, no wisdom

But I will boast in Jesus Christ   His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?   I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart   His wounds have paid my ransom



The Seventh Set of Candles Snuffed Out

The Candle for our own Sins

The Seventh Word Candle



The Christ Candle Is Extinguished and Removed


One Minute Period of Silence



The Christ Candle, Symbol of Our Confidence

in Jesus’ Resurrection is Re-lighted and Returned to the Chapel


Silent Prayer, Post-service Music                                                                                                                          



At the close

of this evening’s

worship service

the Congregation

 is asked to leave the chapel and the Church

Building in silence, reverently contemplating

the significance of Christ’s death for all our sins,

and faithfully looking ahead to His resurrection

three days later.

As you head your

separate ways this


May the Lord bless

 you and keep you,

May the Lord make

His face to shine

upon you and be

gracious unto you

May the Lord look

upon you with favor,

and give you His

peace.   Amen.






(The following is, in large part, a paraphrase of “The Passion of Christ From A Medical  Point of View,”  written by Dr. C. Truman Davis for Arizona Medicine, Vol 22, No.3, March 1965.)


The Practice of Crucifixion

     Perhaps you, like I, have taken the crucifixion of Christ more or less for granted over the years.  We realize that He suffered and died for our sins, yet we have probably grown callous to the actual horrors of His passion, because of our easy familiarity with its grim details.  If that be the case, let us briefly examine our Savior’s innocent suffering and death, beginning with a study of the practice of crucifixion itself.

     Apparently, the first known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians.  The Romans apparently learned the practice from the Carthaginians and rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill in carrying it out.

     Many painters and most of the sculptors of crucifixes today show the nails through the palms.  Roman historical accounts and experimental work have shown that the nails were driven between the small bones of the wrist and not through the palms.  Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when the support the weight of a human body.  The misconception may have come about through a misunderstanding of Jesus words to Thomas:  “see My hands” (John 20:27).  Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrists as a part of the hand.

Christ’s Bloody Sweat In Gethsemane


     The physical passion of Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, we will discuss just one…the blood sweat.   It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this.  He says:  “And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”  

     Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this phrase, apparently operating under the mistaken impression that this just doesn’t happen.

     A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting medical literature.  Though very rare, the phenomenon of hematidrosis, or blood sweat, is well documented.  Under extreme emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat gland can break, and so mix blood with sweat.  This process alone could have produced in Jesus considerable weakness and possible shock.


Jesus Sufferings During His Arrest and Trials

     After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the high priest.  It is here that the first physical trauma was inflicted on Him.  A soldier struck Christ across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas.  The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

     In the early morning, Jesus, now battered, bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night is taken across Jerusalem  to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the location of the Roman Governor for Judea, Pontius Pilate.  Pilate initially attempted to pass responsibility for Christ to Herod.   Apparently Jesus suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate.  It was then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released, and he condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.  There is much disagreement among authorities about scourging as a prelude to crucifixion.  In fact, most Roman writers from this period do not associate scourging with crucifixion.  Many scholars today believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as His full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the challenge by the mob that Pilate was not properly defending the emperor Caesar against Jesus, Who claimed to be King of the Jews.

     When a scourging is carried out, according to Jewish law, the prisoner is stripped of his clothing and his hands are tied to a post above His head.  It is doubtful, however, that the Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of scourging.  The Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes.  The Pharisees, always making sure that the law was strictly kept, insisted that only 39 lashes ever be given.  In Jesus’ case, a Roman legionnaire stepped forward with a flagrum in his hand.  This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the end of each thong.  Imagine the heavy whip being brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.  At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting bleeding follows from arteries in the underlying muscles.  The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.  Finally the skin of the back hangs in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.  When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner was near death — and only then — the beating would finally be stopped.

     The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood.  The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this lower class Galilean Jew claiming to be a King.  They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter.  They still need a crown to make their comedy complete.  A small bundle of flexible branches covered ith long thorns are fashioned into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp.   Again there is abundant bleeding since the scalp is one of the most vascular areas of the body.  After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp.  Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back.  This had already begun to adhere to the clots of blood and serum from the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain….Almost as though He were being whipped again….the wounds once more begin to pour out blood.

     Following a Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments.  The heavy patibulum (cross-arm) of the cross is tied across His shoulders, and the crucifixion procession including Christ, two thieves, and the execution  detail of Roman soldiers, led by a centurion, begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Sorrows).  In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam together with the shock produced by extensive blood loss, is too much.  Jesus stumbles and falls.  The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders.  He tries to rise, but His human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.  The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a strong-looking North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross.  Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating, the cold, clammy sweat of shock.  The journey is completed.  The prisoner is again stripped of His clothes — except for a loin cloth, which is allowed by the Jews.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

     Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture.  He refused to drink.  Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus is quickly  thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood.  The legionnaire feels for the depressions at the front of the wrist.  He drives a heavy square, wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.   Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexibility and movement.  The paticulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes (upright portion of the cross).  The left foot is pressed backward against the right food and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed.

     The Victim is now crucified.  As He slowly sags down with more weight now brought to bear on the nails in His wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms, almost exploding in the brain.  The nails in the wrists and putting pressure on the median nerves.  As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places the full weight of His body on the nails through His feet.   Again, there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

     At this point, another phenomenon occurs.   As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.  With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward.  Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act.  Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled.  Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.  Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs.

      Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.  It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences which are recorded:

     The first, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  (Luke 22:34)

     The second to the penitent thief:  “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  (Luke 23:43)

     The third, looking down at John, had Jesus saying:  “Here is your mother,”  and looking to Mary, His mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  (John 19:26-27)

     The fourth cry is from the beginning of the 22nd Psalm, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  (Mark 15:34;  Matthew 27:46)

     Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber…..Then another agony begins.  A throbbing, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium fills slowly with serum and begins to compress the heart.

     Let us remember again the 22nd Psalm, verse 14:  “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint:  My heart has turned to wax;  it has melted away within Me.”

     It is almost over — the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level.  The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues.  The tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.  The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.

     Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I am thirsty.”  (John 19:28)

     Let us remember the 15th verse from the 22nd Psalm, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd;  and My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth and you lay Me in the dust of death.”

     A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple of the Roman legionnaires, is lifted to His lips.   The body of Jesus has now reached the extreme limit and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues.  This realization brings out His sixth word, “It is finished.”  (John 19:30)

     His mission of atonement has been completed.  Finally He can ALLOW His body to die.  With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh word, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”   (Luke 23:46)

     The rest you know.  In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men to be immediately killed and removed from the crosses.  The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crucifracture, the breaking of the bones in the legs.  This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward;  the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred.   The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when they came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary.

     Apparently to be absolutely sure of His death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth intersp­ace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart.  The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of John tells us one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  This action caused an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart of blood from the interior of the heart.  We, therefore, have conclusive post-mortem evidence that our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but by heart failure.

     Jesus’ crucifixion was not a pretty sight and vivid thoughts of it could leave us despondent and depressed.  How grateful we can all be that there is a sequel to the crucifixion.  Our glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man is seen in the miracle of Easter morning.

     As you read this there may well have been medical terms that you are not familiar with.  But even if you do not understand many of the terms used and do not take the time to look them up in a dictionary, you still can be impressed (shocked may be a better word) with the physical suffering that Christ went through.  He endured it all so that He could give a full payment for our sins to God, so that our sins could be atoned for, and so that we, who have separated ourselves from God by our sins, can by faith in Christ be at peace with God again.  Just think of it!   Jesus Christ, THE Son of God, willingly and knowingly suffered all this and more for us so that we might be free from sin, death, and hell.  We will never have to everlastingly suffer what He endured for us during the hours of His Passion.   

     This evening we have gathered here to humbly express our gratitude to God for His Son’s passion and the salvation He secured for us through His substitutionary death for the sins of the world.  Let us all firmly believe this Good News.  And may we all do all we can through our prayers and with the blessings God has given us to declare this wonderful truth of forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ to our acquaintan­ces, throughout our community, and into the entire world.