Courtney Jacob

Good Friday and Easter in Matthew

Have you made your Easter plans yet? It’s that time of year when we’re inundated with pastel colors, cute bunnies, candy eggs, Easter baskets, and Easter eggs hunts. All these things certainly contribute to the celebratory mood and a feel-good experience, but they also have the potential to fill our schedules and distract us, driving our attention ahead to the Resurrection, without much more than a chocolatey cross to acknowledge the great work of salvation Christ accomplished on it. Yet the events that take place on Good Friday are inseparable from those of Easter. Together, they are the linchpin of the Christian faith and it is good and right for us to remember and celebrate them. 

So, let’s refocus on what really matters and study the stories of Christ’s death and resurrection again. In our Groundwork series, “Good Friday and Easter in Matthew” we’ll slow down and reflect on the events of Christ’s death and resurrection from the perspective of the first canonical gospel. Together we’ll dwell here to grasp the gravity and regain an appreciation for the salvation Christ willing accomplished for us on the cross before celebrating his glorious resurrection Easter morning. 

The Benefits of Remembering

Why is it a good practice to remember the events of Christ’s death and resurrection each year? Telling and retelling the biblical record of Christ’s death on the cross strengthens our memory and bolsters our faith. Not only do we recall facts and details, but also why he had to die and the significance of what he accomplished. When we study the scriptural account, the Holy Spirit works through God’s Word to convict our hearts and remind us of God’s love for us. 

These annual observances and traditions also give us the opportunity to share and pass on our faith. It’s like the stone altars the people of Israel constructed in the Old Testament to aid their remembering.  “Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them…” (Joshua 4:5-7)

Like all knowledge and memories, when we do not actively remember, we forget—and the next generation doesn’t grasp the importance. Actively remembering aids both our individual and our communal memory and understanding. 

Why Matthew? 

Matthew is one of four gospels in the New Testament. Each gospel offers a particular perspective on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Most scholars agree that Matthew, a tax collector Jesus calls to be his disciple in Matthew 9:9-13, is the author of the first gospel. And while Matthew’s gospel is first in the Bible, it is believed to have been written after the gospel of Mark. One of the unique characteristics of Matthew is his emphasis on demonstrating how Jesus fulfills Old Testament scriptures, providing evidence for his Jewish readers that Jesus is indeed the Messiah for which they have been longing. 

As Matthew recounts the events of Christ’s crucifixion, he focuses on the spiritual and theological meaning of the cross. He also provides authentic testimony that resonates with human skepticism, guiding us to worship and encouraging our faith, even as we contend with our doubts.  

From Guilt and Doubt to Faith

So I invite you to pause and actively remember the stories of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection again this year through our Groundwork series “Good Friday and Easter in Matthew”: 

Together, with heartfelt gusto, we’ll praise God for his goodness and declare with saints throughout the ages: Jesus Christ is risen, Alleluia! 

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