Audio and Text are available below for the Good Friday

April 2 2021

Welcome and Announcements

Adoration of the Cross - Opening Sentences

Processional Hymn

First Passion Reading

Responsive Reading

Second Passion Reading

Third Passion Reading


Fourth Passion Reading

Fifth Passion Reading

Sixth Passion Reading


Bidding Prayer

Seventh Passion Reading

The Words of Our Lord

Recessional Hymn

Sterepitus - Collect










        Our service today is a continuation of the worship which began last evening, Maundy Thursday.  Today, we gather to celebrate our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross.  The Good Friday liturgy is both an austere time of reflection and intercession, as well as an adoration of Christ, the sacrificial lamb.

TENEBRAE is a Latin word meaning “darkness” or “shadows.”  This traditional type of Good Friday Service originated more than a thousand years ago.  The Tenebrae Service is characterized by a gradual lowering of the lights in the Sanctuary as the Passion narrative is read.  The darkness overtaking our worship space is representative of the approaching end of our Lord’s life.  At the conclusion of the Seventh Reading, when Jesus’ death and burial are complete, the Paschal or Christ Candle, symbolizing Jesus Christ, is carried out of the darkened Sanctuary.  The strepitus, a harsh noise, is heard representing the closing of Jesus’ tomb. 

        Again, there is no Benediction as our Service does not really end today, but rather continues on toward its climax, the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter morning.

(Please read aloud the parts of the Passion marked “People” in bold type.)



[A processional crucifix is carried from the back of the church.  At the back, again in the middle of the church, and before placing it in its stand, the pastor leads the following verse and response, each time louder than before:]


P:  Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the Salvation of the whole world.
C:  Oh, come, let us worship Him.
P:  Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the Salvation of the whole world.
C: Oh, come, let us worship Him.
P:  Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the Salvation of the whole world.
C: Oh, come, let us worship Him.

P:  For everything there is a season,
C:  and a time for every matter under heaven.
P:  a time to be born
C:  and a time to die


See the source image

436 Go to Dark Gethsemane                                             LSB 436 sts. 1–3
Text and tune: Public domain


FIRST PASSION READING                                                                John 18:1-27
P:  The Passion of Our Lord according to St. John, the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters.
P:  When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.  Now Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with His disciples.  So, Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.  Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them,

Voice of Jesus:  Whom do you seek?

P:  They answered Him,
C:  Jesus of Nazareth

Voice of Jesus:  I am He.

P:  Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them.  When Jesus said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.  So, He asked them again,

Voice of Jesus:  Whom do you seek?

      C:  Jesus of Nazareth

Voice of Jesus:  I told you that I am He.  So, if you seek Me, let these men go.

P:  This was to fulfill the word that He had spoken:  “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost not one.”  Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.  (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Voice of Jesus:  Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me?

P:  So, the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.  First, they led Him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.  It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.  Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple.  Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door.  So, the other disciple who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door and brought Peter in.  The servant girl at the door said to Peter,
Girl:  You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?

Peter:  I am not.

P:  Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves.  Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.  The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples and His teaching.

Voice of Jesus:  I have spoken openly to the world.  I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together.  I have said nothing in secret.  Why do you ask Me?  Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them; they know what I said.

P:  When He had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying,
Officer:  Is that how You answer the high priest?

Voice of Jesus:  If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike Me?

P:  Annas then sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.  Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.  So, they said to him.

     People:  You also are not one of His disciples, are you?

Peter:  I am not.

P:  One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off asked,

Servant:  Did I not see you in the garden with Him?

P:  Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed

(The first candle is extinguished)

RESPONSIVE READING                                                                         Isaiah 52:13-53.3
P:  Centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah wrote in poetic form about the time when God’s Servant would be rejected by men.

P:  Behold, My Servant shall act wisely.
C:  He shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
P:  As many were astonished at you-
C:  His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind-
P:  so, shall He sprinkle many nations;
C: kings shall shut their mouths because of Him;
P: for that which has not been told them they see
C: and that which they have not heard they understand.
P:  Who has believed what he has heard from us?
C: And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
P:  For He grew up before Him like a young plant,
C: and like a root out of dry ground;
P:  He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him
C: and no beauty that we should desire Him.
P:  He was despised and rejected by men;
C: a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
P: and as one from whom men hide their faces
C: He was despised, and we esteemed Him not

SECOND PASSION READING                                                                John 18:28-19:11
P:  Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters.  It was early morning.  They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.  So, Pilate went outside to them and said,
Pilate:  What accusation do you bring against this man?

    C:  If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered Him over to you.

Pilate:  Take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own law.

    C:  It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.

P:  This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death He was going to die. So, Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to Him,

Pilate:  Are You the King of the Jews?

Voice of Jesus:  Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about Me?
Pilate:  Am I a Jew?  Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You over to me.  What have You done?

Voice of Jesus:  My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews.  But My kingdom is not from the world.

Pilate:  So, you are a king?

Voice of Jesus:  You say that I am a king. For this purpose, I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.

Pilate:  What is truth?

P:  After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them,

Pilate:  I find no guilt in Him.  But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover.  So, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?

    People:  Not this man, but Barabbas!

P:  Now Barabbas was a robber.
Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged Him.  And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his Head and arrayed Him in a purple robe.  They came up to Him saying.

    People:  Hail, King of the Jews!

P:  and struck Him with their hands.  Pilate went out again and said to them,

Pilate:  See, I am bringing Him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.

P:  So, Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.

Pilate:  Behold the Man!

P:  When the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out,

     People:  Crucify Him, crucify Him!

Pilate:  Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.
     People:  We have a law, and according to that law He ought to be because He has made Himself the Son of God.

P:  When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.  He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus,

Pilate:  Where are You from?

P:  But Jesus gave him no answer.

Pilate:  You will not speak to me?  Do You not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?

Voice of Jesus:  You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above.  Therefore, he who delivered Me over to you has the greater sin.

(The second candle is extinguished)

THIRD PASSION READING                                                                   John 19:12-22
P:  From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out,
People:  If you release this Man, you are not Caesar’s friend.  Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.

P: So, when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic, Gabbatha.  Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.  He said to the Jews,

Pilate:  Behold your King!
    People:  Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!
Pilate:  Shall I crucify your King?
P:  The chief priests answered,
     People:  We have no king but Caesar.
P:  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 the skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side and Jesus between them.  Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross.  It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.  So, the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Do not write, “The King of the Jews, but rather, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.”
Pilate:  What I have written, I have written.

P: When the prophet Micah wrote, the people had forgotten the Lord.  It was time for God to declare His case against them.  When Christ was on the cross, it was again such a time.

P: Thus, says the Lord:  What have I done to you, O My people and wherein have I offended you?  Answer Me. Though I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged.  For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, you have nailed your Savior to the cross.  O My people.
     People:  Holy Lord God, holy and mighty God, holy and most merciful Redeemer; God eternal, leave us not to bitter death.  O Lord have mercy.

P:  Thus, says the Lord:  What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you?  Answer Me.  For I have conquered all your foes, you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me.  For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink.  O My people.
     People:  Holy Lord God, holy and mighty God, holy and most merciful Redeemer; God eternal, allow us not to lose hope in the face of death and hell.  O Lord, have mercy.

P:  Thus, says the Lord:  What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you?  Answer Me.  What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it?  When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?  My people, is this how you thank your God?  O my People.
People:  Holy Lord God, holy and mighty God, holy and most merciful Redeemer; God eternal, keep us steadfast in the true faith.  O Lord, have mercy.

(The third candle is extinguished)

FOURTH PASSION READING                                                               John 19:23-24
P:  When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also, His tunic.  But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another.
     People: Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.
P:  This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

(The fourth candle is extinguished.)

FIFTH PASSION READING                                                                    John 19:25-30
P:  So, the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother,

Voice of Jesus:  Woman, behold your son!
P: Then he said to the disciple,
Voice of Jesus: Behold your mother!
P:  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.  After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture).

Voice of Jesus:  I thirst.

P: A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth.  When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,

Voice of Jesus:  It is finished,

P:  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

(The fifth candle is extinguished.)

SIXTH PASSION READING                                                                    John 19:31-37
P:  Since it was the Day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.  So, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with Him.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  He who saw it has born witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth – that you also may believe.  For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled:  Not one of his bones will be broken.”  And again, another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”


P:  Let us pray for the whole Christian Church, that our Lord God would defend her against all the assaults and temptations of the adversary 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 the adversary and may serve You in true faith and persevere in the confession of Your name; though Jesus Christ, our Lord.
People:  Amen.
P:  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 supplication 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.
People:  Amen.
P:  Let us pray for our catechumens, that our Lord God would open their hearts and the door of His mercy 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 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.
People:  Amen.
P:  Let us pray for all in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty: 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 regard Your servants, especially our President; the Congress of the United States, our governor, and all those 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.
People:  Amen.
P: 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; Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those in tribulation or distress graciously come before You, so that in all their necessities they may rejoice in Your manifold help and comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
People:  Amen.
P:  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:  Almighty and everlasting God, because You seek not the death but the 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.
People:  Amen.

(The sixth candle is extinguished.)

SEVENTH PASSION READING                                                              John 19:38-42
P:  After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission.  So, he came and took away His body.  Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.  So, they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as in the burial custom of the Jews.  Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  So, because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

456 Were You There                                                        LSB 456 sts. 1–3
Tune and text: Public domain

(The seventh candle is extinguished
and the lights in the nave and chancel are turned off.)

(The Christ Candle is removed.)

STREPITUS (A loud sound is heard signifying the closing of Jesus’ tomb)

(The Christ Candle is quietly returned in recognition that God is eternally alive)

P: Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God, now and forever.
People:  Amen.


[After the pastor leaves, a few lights are turned on.   Please observe silence while departing]

From Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish, Series C, Part 2.  Copyright 2012 Concordia Publishing House.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission








Good Friday   April 2, 2021   John 18:1-19:42   Trinity, Wellsville, NY
God Died
God died.  It sounds strange to say it out loud. Perhaps that’s because we know that God is eternal, everlasting, the One who was before the Beginning and will be after The End.  Fifty some years ago Time magazine wrote on its cover “God is Dead” and it led to a national outcry.  How could they say such a thing?  Their point, they said, was that, from a philosophical point of view, the concept of God was dead, outdated, obsolete.  Philosophical concepts don’t mean much to us.  Our concern is with the real God, not a hypothetical God.  What matters to us is the living God, and, moreover, especially on Good Friday, the dead God. 
Ironically, we Christians also say that “God died.”  What’s behind that is that Jesus Christ, the Second person of the Holy Trinity, is truly God.  Jesus is God, that’s what we believe and teach.  The Bible, God’s Word, tells us that Jesus died on the cross.  He didn’t just look dead, he didn’t pretend to be dead, he wasn’t one of the walking dead – Jesus really, truly died.  So, when Jesus died, God died, because Jesus, as we said, is God.  That’s a hard concept to wrap our minds around, a dead God. 
It’s especially hard for us to swallow because Jesus died, God died, for our sins.  When we say He died for our sins, we mean at least two things.  Firstly, He died because we are sinners. It was our sin that killed Him.  Had humanity never sinned, Jesus would never have had to die.  Your sin, my sin, our sin killed Jesus.  We are not innocent. His blood is on our hands just as surely as it was on Judas’s hands, the soldiers’ hands and all the others. 
Secondly, when we say Jesus died for our sins, we mean He died to save us from our sins.  We were God’s enemies.  We were the objects of God’s wrath.  It was not possible for us to redeem ourselves from our sin.  A Holy God must punish our sin.  That is justice.  But a loving God must spare his creatures, that is, us.  God is merciful.  The only solution, then, is for God to punish the One who is both God and man, Jesus, for Him to take all the punishment we deserve, so that divine justice may be served, and divine mercy shed upon us.  Jesus Christ is the God-man who took all our sin on His back and died on the cross of Calvary in our place, pardoning us.  God died for us.  If we have faith in His atoning death, then we also have life in His name.
Some might ask, would a loving God really throw someone into Hell for not believing in Him?  God condemns no one for disbelief.  People condemn themselves by sinning, by rebelling against God’s gracious rule, by doing what they know in their heart is wrong.  That’s what condemns a person.  God, in unfathomable mercy, offers us an escape from the judgment we have brought on ourselves.  We are justified by grace through faith.  But some people’s hearts are so hardened -- their only faith is in themselves -- that they reject God’s pardon.  That’s on them, not God.
It is also often asked why today is a called Good Friday.  “What’s so good about the day Jesus died?”  Try thinking of it this way.  What if you owed a tremendous debt you could not pay, and someone paid it for you saving you from bankruptcy?  What if you were sentenced to prison and, by some quirky loophole, someone could serve your time and did?  What if someone took a bullet for you?  Those would all be good things for you, wouldn’t they?  One Friday afternoon outside of Jerusalem, Jesus paid your debt, served your sentence, took the hit and died to save you from sin, death and the devil.  That’s why we call it Good Friday. 
Yes, on Good Friday, God died.  But God is not dead.  Death could not hold Him.  On Easter Sunday we will proclaim that Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.  But let's not rush to the ending.  So that we can better appreciate the Resurrection, let us contemplate first what it means us that God died, for us.  Amen.