John 19:28-30, NIRV
28Later, Jesus knew that everything had now been finished. He also knew that what Scripture said must come true. So he said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there. So they soaked a sponge in it. They put the sponge on the stem of a hyssop plant. Then they lifted it up to Jesus’ lips. 30After Jesus drank he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and died.
Bible verses are from the New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Nail (use the template from the Holy Week House Party resource).
Tonight is what we refer to as Good Friday of Holy Week. It is during this service that we remember Jesus and his death on the cross. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he felt very alone. His closest friends had told people that they didn’t know him. One, Judas, even betrayed him and turned him in to the authorities. Even the two robbers on the crosses next to him made fun of him. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the soldiers who had pounded the nails, as they were making fun of him. Many of those who stood on the ground looking up at him made fun of him as well.
Worst of all, Jesus felt that God has gone away and left him too! He felt that God was hiding from him.
But when Jesus looked down at all those gathered around his cross, he saw things differently. He did see some of his disciples. He also saw his mother and the other women who had been with him during his ministry. He looked around and loved each one of the people that he saw. He remembered that all of the pain, all of the suffering he had gone through was for all of them. It was for you too! Each of those who turn to him and ask for forgiveness will be forgiven.
Jesus hung all day long on the cross. Late that afternoon, he yelled out after he took a drink to quench his thirst, “It is finished.”
There may come a time in your life when you feel let down by others. They may make fun of you. You may feel all alone. You may even feel that God is hiding from you. When this happens, think of Jesus. Because of what he went through on Good Friday, Jesus knows just how you feel.
Do you know sign language? (Show the sign for “I love you.” To sign, I love you in American Sign Language, ASL, point out your thumb and index finger to form an “L.” While keeping them extended, lift your little finger. Your middle and ring fingers keep touching your palm. Finally, direct your hand toward the person you are talking to.) The American Sign Language “sign” for the name Jesus is made by pointing to the palm of each hand. Why do you think this would be the “sign” for Jesus? What are we describing as we point to our palms? (Allow children to respond.) That’s exactly right, we point to our palms as a reminder of the nails that were placed into each of Jesus’ hands. This “sign” for Jesus reminds us of the nails that were used to put him on the cross. Where have you seen crosses in your life? (Allow children to provide answers. Examples such as crosses are found on necklaces around our necks, earrings, on church signs, in stained-glass windows, etc.). I wonder how important the cross is when describing Jesus and what he came to do.
During the next few days, spend time sharing with others how important the nail and cross are in telling the story of Jesus and what he came to do. If it weren’t for the nails and cross, we wouldn’t know what being fully forgiven feels like. It is through the nails and cross that we have hope in eternal life, life that never ends, in heaven with Jesus!
To help you remember to share the story of the nails and cross, I have a paper cutout of a nail for each of you to take with you.
God, every time I see a nail, it reminds me of the pain and sorrow that Jesus had to go through to save us and offer hope for eternal life in heaven. Amen.