Last night prepared us for today !( SEE PREVIOUS POST : Thank God - its Maundy Thursday!)
In Mark 14 we saw Jesus revealed as the Passover Lamb – “the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world “ (John 1 :29,36).
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to be that lamb! Previously He had spoken about this in Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31 and Mark 10:33-34. We see it in the institution of the Lord’s supper (14:22-25) - “This is my body … this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many…”
Well, until now it has all been theory. Today however, on Good Friday this is no longer theory. This is the day on which we remember that there came a time when Jesus actually gave His life as the Passover lamb – so that the wrath of God would pass over all those who would embrace Him and His work on the cross. I trust that the Holy Spirit who has inspired the Scriptures , will be pleased to show us the awesomeness of this event as we meditate on these familiar words once again.
The key thought is this : Jesus is handed over to be killed. Consider the following sequence of events as they unfold in Mark 15 :
1. The chief priests , the elders and scribes and the whole council deliver Jesus to Pilate accusing Him of many things(15:1-5)
2. Pilate delivers Jesus over to the crowd who kept on shouting “ crucify Him!” (15: 6-15)
3. Jesus is handed over to the soldiers who hurt Him , mocked Him , stripped Him and eventually crucified Him (15:16-20)
4. The soldiers handed Jesus over to the cross to die (15: 21- 32)
5. On the cross Jesus is handed over to forsakenness and to death (15: 33- 41)
6. From the cross Jesus is handed over Joseph of Arimathea (15: 42-45)
7. Joseph of Arimathea hands Jesus over to the grave (15: 46 )
All, except the last two points are apparently motivated by sinful, ugly emotions – but all these points emphasise the forsakenness of Christ. He was handed over to die. He was handed over to the grave . The Passover Lamb had been slain !
Now what ? At face value this all sounds very depressing , doesn’t it ? And who should we blame for his death? For every death humanity looks for a guilty party . The relatives of Malaysian flight MH 370 are blaming the Malaysian government for the disappearance of their loved ones. The families of this week’s South Korean ferry disaster in which up to 300 people (mainly children) are missing, they are blaming the captain and the shipping line. When a loved one dies on the operating table people blame the doctor and nurses . In a fatal car crash people blame the other driver.
Who should we blame for Jesus’ death ?
We saw very clearly that Jesus had now been delivered by the hands of men - for them to do what they will do with him. The whole chapter is about men and what they do to Jesus. In this chapter Jesus the Lord , the sovereign King of the Universe , is quiet. He does not say a word. He lets men do what they want to do to Him , although , in Matthew’s account of the arrest of Jesus He makes mention of this fact : “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He at once send me more than 12 legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so? 
It must be so, and so Isaiah prophesies : Like a lamb He is led to the slaughter .
There are no nice and helpful people around Him. The disciples have all abandoned Him by this time. The faithful women who ministered to Jesus stood at a distance and looked. The crowd shouts at Him. The soldiers mock Him and spit on Him. They steal His clothes and divide them. They crucify Him on the cross –naked and exposed . The by-passers mock Him and insult Him : “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests and the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “ He saved others; he cannot save Himself.” Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe. Those who were crucified with Him also reviled Him . (15:29-32)
The only nice man here is Joseph of Arimathea, “who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God that took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus … and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock.” (15:43-46). We might have some sympathy for Simon of Cyrene who was made to carry the cross of Jesus cross. We are thankful that one of the thieves crucified with Jesus believed in Jesus in his dying moments.  We have some sympathy for the Roman centurion, who after Jesus died said : “ Truly this man was the Son of God !” (15:39) Other than this, everything is very harsh . And we ask : who is ultimately guilty for delivering Jesus up to His death? There is such a long list of people to blame . Can we find the real culprit and so perhaps get him to bear the blame for sending the Son of God to the cross?
· Can we blame PILATE? Pilate was perhaps one of the most powerful and influential men in Jesus' day in Judea. He was a Roman procurator, the administrator of Judea. He had the political power to stop the killing of Jesus. Moreover, as Scripture makes clear, Pilate was convinced of Jesus' innocence. Three times he declared publicly that he could find no basis of accusation against Jesus. He wanted to avoid sentencing Jesus, but before his hands were dry, he handed Jesus over to be crucified. He really wanted to free Jesus, but he also wanted to please the crowd. Pilate's conscience was ultimately drowned out by the loud shouts of the crowd. Should we not accuse him?
· Should we blame the ROMAN SOLDIERS? They mocked Him, and they ultimately crucified Him. Can we accuse them? Possibly, but we need to realise that this was their job. They did what they were commanded to do.
· What about the JEWISH PEOPLE and their PRIESTS? Here we have quite a strong case. On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter makes it very clear, that he considered the Jewish people and their rulers guilty of this crime. Should we not blame them?
· What about JUDAS ISCARIOT? After all, he betrayed Jesus directly into the hands of the Jewish people and their priests. Isn't he the guilty one - ultimately?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
The Bible has two responses to this dilemma :
1. Human Responsibility : The fact that so many people could be blamed should cause us to think very carefully, and if indeed we would consider the verdict of the whole Bible, then we shall discover very quickly that the Bible teaches the corporate guilt of humanity. When it comes to putting the blame at someone's feet, the Bible actually points to all of us, even though it is true that those who actually committed the deed are guilty of a greater sin. Pilate, the Jewish people and their priests, who shouted, "crucify him" clearly have a lot more to answer for.
Horatio Bonar  wrote an excellent hymn that expresses the corporate guilt of mankind:
‘Twas I that shed the sacred blood, I nailed Him to the tree
I crucified the Son of God, I joined the mockery.
Of all that shouting multitude, I feel that I am one;
And in that din of voices rude, I recognise my own.
Around the cross the throng I see, mocking the sufferer’s groan
Yet still my voice it seems to be, as if I mocked alone.
It is deeply entrenched in our sinful human nature to deny our personal guilt and to point fingers at someone else, but the Bible says that the whole world is responsible for Jesus’ death. He died because we all put Him there!
2. Divine Sovereignty : Jesus died because it was His Father’s will. Jesus died to fulfil the Scriptures (14:49) . Jesus died because the Father’s love took Him there : For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (Jn. 3:16) – see also Romans 8:32 . Octavius Winslow summed it up in a neat statement: “Who delivered up Jesus to die ? Not Judas , for money; not Pilate, for fear ; not the Jews for envy - but the Father – for love! 
So, we need to look at the cross in two ways :
On a human level all of us are responsible for Jesus’ death. Our sin took Him there .
On a divine level God the Father gave Him up to die for us.
Acts 2 :23 is a key verse in this respect. Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost :” … this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men .” Here you find both , human responsibility and divine sovereignty
So , why did Jesus die ?
1. He did not die . He was killed !
2. He was not killed. He died, giving Himself up for us to do His Father’s will.
That is why we speak of the day on which He died as Good Friday! Why good? Because something very good happened there. Christ died to deal with my and your sin – in two ways : (i) Christ decisively dealt with our sin by freeing us from its power (expiation) - no more condemnation ( Rom 8:1) ! (ii) Christ dealt with the righteous anger of God towards us. (propitiation)
Thank God for Good Friday !
 2 Tim 3:16 “ All Scripture is breathed out by God …” ( Gr. theopneustos)
 Matthew 26:53
 Isaiah 53:7 “ He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
 Matthew 27:55,56
 Luke 23: 40-43
 Lk 23:4,14,22
 Lk 23:4,14,22
 Lk 23:11
 Acts 3:12 - 15
 Rom 3:9 - 23
 Mk 14:21
 Horatio Bonar, a Scottish Hymn writer, lived from 1809 - 1889
 John Stott: The Cross of Christ , p. 61