Take a deep breath. Inhale... Exhale...

We all have things going on in life that try to grab our time, attention, and affection. The invitation for you right now is to take a few minutes to turn away from those things and to try your hand at being present with Jesus. This isn’t about performing a duty for him, rather, it’s a chance to be with him as you walk through 12 moments during the last days of his earthly ministry.

In the Old Testament, God set up days of remembrance to give his people time to slow down and remember how great he is. The Passover was a time to remember God’s “mighty hand and outstretched arm” as he brought his people out from under the oppression and slavery of their Egyptian captors. Good Friday is a day like that.

Today is a day of remembrance and reflection. It’s a day where we realize that every one of our sins was placed upon Jesus. But it can’t stop there. It is also a day of great rejoicing because those sins were placed on Jesus and we no longer bear their consequences when we give our lives to him. Romans 8:1 tells God’s people that, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This is such amazing news, and today is a day where we both contemplate and celebrate that truth.

Contemplation has been a part of Church history for many centuries. It is the act of looking thoughtfully, and reflecting deeply on something. Contemplative times are times we slow down from the busyness of life and turn our attention toward something (or someone). We stop. We think. We listen.

Take this time to slow down and be with Jesus. To remember his great sacrifice that made a way for you to be in his family as a cherished daughter or son...forever.

“Jesus. Walk with me, teach me, and captivate me with your great love. Speak to me and make yourself more real to me than ever before. Thank you for your great sacrifice. I receive it anew. Amen.”


Mark 14:33–36
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (ESV)
Jesus was about do die, and he knew it. The first station in  Jesus’ journey to the cross shows a Son fully devoted to his Father, even as he is tempted to look for another alternative.  We see a Savior fully devoted to saving his people...people who will mock him, beat him, and hang him on a cross to die. We see a man deeply troubled by what is to come, but also a man fully submitted to the will of his Father. For all of eternity past, Jesus, the Son, had been in joyous, loving, unhindered relationship with the Holy Spirit and God the Father, and he knew that his journey to the cross would accomplish what no one else could accomplish: the welcoming of God’s people into that same relationship. Jesus was the Lamb of God, who would willingly sacrifice himself for the sins of the world, so that we could spend all of eternity future with him.
Is there anything you would like to submit to the will of God today? If so, you can tell him.


Mark 14:43–46
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him  away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. (ESV)
Has anyone ever stabbed you in the back? It is emotionally painful...and Jesus knows exactly what it feels like. Judas’ betrayal sets off a series of events that leaves Jesus utterly alone as he continues his journey toward death. John 12:6 takes us back in the story and gives us a peek into Judas’ heart. Here we learn that Judas was a thief and used to steal from the disciples’ moneybag, yet Jesus, knowing this, still put him in charge of the finances. It puts real meaning to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Judas had been with Jesus. He had seen miracles. He had heard the best teaching in the history of the world. Yet his heart was still far from God. His love for created things kept him from seeing that the Creator of those things was right in front of him.
What parts of God’s creation help you see him more clearly? What parts might distract you?


Mark 14:55–56
Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree...And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need?” ...And they all condemned him as deserving death. (ESV)
For centuries, the people of Israel had been waiting for the Messiah, the Rescuer of God’s people, to set them free from oppression and usher in a new era of prosperity. When the Messiah came, instead of welcoming him, they pulled every political trick they could muster to make him look like a fake. When they finally asked Jesus point blank, “Are you the Messiah?” he told the truth. It was in telling that truth that Jesus knowingly sealed his own fate. The devastating tragedy is that devotion to a religious plan had blinded Israel’s leaders from seeing that the true desire of their religion was in their midst.
Jesus, let me see you for who you are. Heal any blindness in me so I can see you clearly.


Mark 15:16–20
And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. (ESV)
From the earliest moments in our lives we call out for things to be fair. “That’s not fair!” can be heard on elementary school playgrounds all around. For many adults, there can be a settling into a state of either demanding fairness in our lives, or just resigning ourselves to a new mantra of, “life’s not fair.” Station four is a picture of Jesus purposefully submitting himself to a detestable level of unfairness. The King of kings was derided as a farce. He was brought before over 400 soldiers to be laughed at, spat upon, beaten, and mockingly saluted. The thorns of the earth that had sprouted up when sin entered the world were twisted together into a crown and slammed onto his head. None of this was fair. This was a drink from the cup Jesus had asked his Father to spare him from, yet he drank it in, because what was being accomplished through it wasn’t fair either. The Savior was saving us, even though we didn’t (and don’t) deserve it.
Why do you think Jesus went through this pain and suffering for you?


John 19:15–17
They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. (ESV)
Way before Good Friday, in Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Jesus was the one who, according to John 1, actually spoke the world into existence. He knew the playing field on both a physical and spiritual level. He saw that our physical bodies, and what we do with them, matter, as does what we do with our souls. Both are valuable in God’s view. Now Jesus himself was using his bruised and beaten body to literally carry his own cross toward the place of his death. He did so as those who had been put into both political and religious power condemned him as a fraud. He was innocent, yet his will, his freedom, and his liberty as a man were willingly laid down for a greater good. His act of sacrifice looked like a win for religion and politics, yet something so much greater was at stake than a temporary earthly win. Instead of gaining the world, he gained us.
Jesus gave up all of his rights so he could have you in his family. how does that make you feel?


John 12:23–24
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (ESV)
Although it is not explicitly stated in Scripture, tradition holds that, due to the physical toll of the beatings he withstood (not to mention a night of agonizing prayer and no sleep) Jesus fell under the weighty wood beam of his cross. The humanity of Jesus in these moments reminds us that, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Just a few verses later, in Hebrews 5:8-9 we read, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And, being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” What Jesus accomplished through his great humility and obedience to his Father’s will is astounding. Romans 5:6-8 puts it well, “For while were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn’t fall to the ground to die, but to plant a seed that would bear the fruit of millions of souls being redeemed.
What do you think it means when the verse above says “If the seed dies, it bears much fruit”?


Matthew 27:32
As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. (ESV)
Jesus’ journey to the cross took place during the Passover festival, a time where God’s people from all over the world  journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate God’s great work of redemption as he brought them out of Egypt. Simon was an African man from what is now Libya. He had come to celebrate God’s miraculous work of old, but found himself suddenly thrown into a new work of salvation. In the original Passover, God’s people killed a lamb and put some of its blood over the doors of their houses. God would unleash death on the first-born of every household in Egypt as a final plague to show the Egyptians that he truly was God. Yet any household that was covered by the blood would be spared. Now, many years later, Simon was carrying the cross of the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the entire world. Revelation 7:9-10 gives us a beautiful picture of what Jesus’ sacrifice will ultimately accomplish at the restoration of all things, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”
Father God, what has Jesus’ sacrifice accomplished in my life?  Take time to listen to him.


Matthew 27:35–36
And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. (ESV)
Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, the Prophets of the Old Testament foretold his coming and included amazing details of what the Messiah would be like. Verse 5 in Isaiah 53 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” On the day Jesus died, at least 28 Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah were fulfilled. Psalm 22:16-18 says, “...they have pierced my hands and feet...they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Jesus’ death wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a surprise to God. From the day that sin entered the world, the promise had been made that sin would be done away with (see Genesis 3). The whole of the Old Testament points toward the One who was to come, who would be “numbered with the sinners, yet would bear the sins of many.” (Isaiah 53:12) God’s grace didn’t start with Jesus, it flows throughout his whole story and continues today, in your life and in mine. His grace is there for you now, and he invites you to come boldly before him to find grace and mercy in your time of need.
Where do you need grace and mercy in your life today? You can ask God to give it to you now.


Luke 23:33–34a
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (ESV)
Naked, bleeding, exhausted, and berated, Jesus was nailed to his cross. Metal that was made out of the very elements that Jesus had spoken into existence was being driven through his hands and feet, into timbers from trees he himself had created. So very many years prior, God the Father had breathed life into the nostrils of Adam, and now Adam’s children were putting his beloved Son to death. No one was able to understand that this evil deed of men was part of a divine purpose of rescue for all who would come to Jesus. Only God himself could become the sacrifice for sin. It was impossible for the yearly sacrifices of animals to take away sins (see Hebrews 10:4), but the blood of Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, could. In no other religion does God become the servant, the humble one, the sacrifice,. But following Jesus is different. God so loved the world that he gave. He gave his Son to be nailed to a cross and die so that we could live with him forever.
In your life, do you see God as vengeful or as gracious? Why?


Luke 23:44–46
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (ESV)
Jesus died. The One who holds all things together, the Center of history, the Baby whom angels announced by opening heaven and singing to lowly shepherds on the day of his birth. That same Jesus commended his own spirit into the hands of his Father. An empty shell of a body now hung on a cross alongside two criminals. Hope was gone as Jesus’ earthly mom watched her son breathe his last. The disciples, who swore they would fight for him, watched in shame as their rabbi’s limp form hung between heaven and earth. As Jesus breathed his last the earth shook. There was darkness over the land for three full hours. The three-and-a-half-inch thick curtain in the Jewish Temple, which kept people from entering the presence of God, was torn from top to bottom. Creation groaned as its King died. Take a moment to think about that... The Alpha and Omega, whom angel armies would rush to aid at a moment’s notice, died the same death that every human being dies. He faced death and accepted it as the cup his good Father had given him to drink. All seemed lost, empty, and alone. By all outward appearances, it looked like the Enemy had finally won. History took a breath and held it. 
Take a few moments to think about the death of Jesus. What does his death mean to you?


Luke 23:50–55
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. (ESV)
The aftermath of the death of a loved one is often confusing, difficult, and full of busyness. Those with financial and funeral responsibilities can feel overwhelmed. How much more so when your loved one has suddenly and abruptly been sentenced to death, tried, and killed in less than 24 hours? In the midst of this dark and hopeless situation, Joseph of Arimathea steps out in humble generosity. He was a member of the religious council, but he had opposed their actions against Jesus. In the face of ridicule and scrutiny by his peers, Joseph stepped up to personally see to Jesus’ funeral arrangements and provided everything his family needed in their time of distress. 

Jesus was dead. His body was wrapped for burial and laid in a tomb.
If you were one of Jesus’ followers, What would be going on in your head while his body was in the tomb?


Mark 16:5–7
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” (ESV)
“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14) Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth in the first century A.D. and they still hold true today. Jesus’ resurrection is the most important moment in history. History held its breath at the death of Jesus, but it began to breathe again at the resurrection. With the resurrection we lose the ability to say that Jesus was a religious fanatic or just a good teacher. He appeared to over 500 eye witnesses after his death establishing that he wasn’t simply an interesting commentator, but that he was, and is, the only Son of God.

Death couldn’t hold you. The veil tore before you. You silenced the boast of sin and grave. The heavens are roaring the praise of your glory, for you are raised to life again. - Hillsong Music

Jesus took the sins of all mankind (past, present, and future) upon himself on the cross. He took them into the grave and left them there when he rose to life, defeating both sin and death. He is alive and he invites anyone who will come to follow him.
Jesus, just as you rose again from death and left sin in the grave, let your live be alive in me.


COMMUNION: This is a simple but profound act of taking bread and wine or grape juice as symbols of Jesus body, which was broken for us, and his blood, which was poured out for us. You can read Matthew 26:26-29 to help facilitate this time and see how Jesus led what is known as the Last Supper.
CONVERSATIONS: One of the best things you can do is discuss this event with friends, roommates, or family members. You can talk about what God showed you or spoke to you during this Good Friday.
SALVATION: If you are interested in learning more about Jesus and the salvation he offers, we would love to speak with you. If you are in-person, you can speak to someone who is leading communion, or, in-person or not, you can always email us at or speak with an elder or Community Group leader on Sunday mornings.
READING: The Gospel of Mark is a great place to begin learning about Jesus. You can read it, and also follow along, as we preach through Mark on the NCC App or at
EASTER SUNDAY: Learn more about our Easter Sunday gatherings at 8am, 10am, and noon at We’d love to see you there!