Today is Good Friday. What’s so good about it? My best friend was betrayed by one of his friends, arrested and hauled up before a kangaroo court. The witnesses against him couldn’t get their stories straight. The religious judges there couldn’t make a capital punishment verdict, so they sent him to the civil court, where they dragged the judge out to try to force him to sentence him to death. When Pilate questioned Jesus, he couldn’t see anything deserving in that kind of harsh punishment, so he tried to bargain with the Jewish leaders, but they would have none of it. Their only charge? He’s bad. If he weren’t bad, we would not have brought him to you asking for execution. Pilate was a relatively weak man, and wanted to keep the peace at all costs so he caved in to the demands and there in the dead of night Jesus was condemned to death. He was beaten, humiliated, and tortured and then executed in an extremely painful way. He had been extremely popular a few days before, making his way into town in what today would have been a ticker tape parade. Everyone was cheering for him, praising him, wanting to be his best friend. But He knew it would not last. He had dinner with his closest followers, one of whom he knew was the traitor who would hand him over to the authorities for execution. That was the first “Last Supper” that we commemorate today as Communion. Before that meal he insisted on doing something only a lowly servant would do, even though he was so highly acclaimed just a few hours before. He washed His disciples’ feet. He knew who would betray Him, and He even washed Judas’ feet. That was typical of Him. Even though He was a popular leader, He never lorded it over His followers. He set the example of how He wanted them to lead…by serving. There was something else significant in that foot-washing ceremony, and Peter, one of His followers, stumbled into it. When Jesus came to do Peter’s feet there in John 13 Peter said something like “No way. I can’t have you bending down to wash my feet. It’s too undignified for you.” Jesus responded “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Well, Peter wanted to be as close to Jesus as he could get, so he said “Then wash me all over.” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” I think Jesus was talking about how, when we become Christians, we are “bathed”. All our past sins are washed off. But we need to keep letting Jesus “wash our feet”. Our feet are where we come in contact with the world. We pick up the dirt of the world; we sin and we need to keep coming to Jesus to get that sin washed off. That’s the point of 1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. If we insist that we are good enough, clean enough, we lie to ourselves and make God out to be a liar as well. So we need to keep coming back to let Jesus wash our feet, wash off the day-to-day sin that accumulates in our lives. He went on to have that meal with His disciples. It was the traditional Jewish Passover feast, but He modified it. Luke 22 shows how. 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. He was teaching us how to remember what was about to happen. His blood would be poured out, his body broken for us there on that cross. He was introducing a new covenant. The old covenant had meant lots of ongoing sacrifices there at the temple. The high priest would slam his hand down on the animal and hold it there, as if all the sin of Israel for that year were draining down through him into that animal. Then they would take it out of the city, kill it, and burn it. That old covenant was just an illustration of what Jesus, the Lamb of God, would do when He took the sin of not only Israel, but of the whole world, on Himself. He would be killed, making atonement for our sins there on that cross. And friends, that’s why this is called “Good Friday”. Even though my best friend was murdered, executed in a most horrible way, He opened up a way for me, and for you, to come to God directly. We no longer have to go through priests and daily and annual animal sacrifices to make up for our sins. He has made Himself the sacrifice that atones for our sins. His blood, shed on that cross, washes us clean of our sins. While He was suffering there on that cross, there was an earthquake. His work there was truly earth-shaking. The heavy curtain that closed off the Holy of Holies in the temple to keep people out of God’s presence was torn from top to bottom, opening a way for us to have immediate, personal access to God. Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One of them made fun of Him. The other said, there in Luke 23 42 … “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Those two thieves summarize the way we can respond to Jesus’ death for our sins on that Cross. Some people make fun of Him; others look to Him for salvation. “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom”. The choice is there for each of us. Make it your prayer to ask Jesus to remember you when He comes into His kingdom. Go through the way He opened up for us to come before God directly.