Avak Urpad – Good Friday

Matthew 26 & 27,  Mark 14 & 15,  Luke 22 & 23,   John 18 & 19

According to the four Gospels During our Lord’s trial started Thursday late evening and lasted till Friday 6:00am. During this period He was subjected to all kinds of constant abuse, humiliation and torture. Further trial took place with Pontus Pilot after which he was led to be stripped, lashed with leather whip tipped with sharp metal… leading him bleeding.

After 6:00am he was made to carry His cross to outside the city of Jerusalem to a hill called Golgotha to be crucified there.

During our pilgrimage with our Bishop Vahan, we spent one day going through “The Way of the Cross”. The memory is vivid in my mind and the twisty road was hilly. One can easily realize why Jesus could not carry the heavy cross all the way… due to lack of sleep, no food or drink, beating and bleeding.

Truly the Prophecy of Isaiah 53 is fulfilled…” He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquity…”.

St Paul the apostle writes in his letter to the Philippians 2 V 7-8 “ He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death on a cross”.   The Roman punishment of crucifixion was the most degrading and humiliating form of death.

Through the pain and agony on the Cross, our Lord Jesus Christ still shows his compassion and love… turns to John the disciple and asks him look after His mother Mary… still able to console to the repentant thief … and say “today you will be with me in Paradise”… and “Father forgive them for they no not what they are doing…”.

Forsaken by God the Father and by men…Jesus cries…”Father why you have forsaken me”  Psalm 22v1… before His death Jesus cries with a loud voice

IT IS FINISHED…” and gives up his ghost and dies.

The Roman commander…as he sees and witnesses the whole episode…  takes his helmet off, kneels down on his knees and say… “this is truly the Son of God”… The commander BELIEVES.

Years ago I was reading a story of old. An old woman was found stealing… and they brought her before the judge. The judge passed the sentence on this lady… 40 lashes and it had to be done there and then. The judge came down from his seat, took of his outer clothing and said “I will take the punishment of my mother on myself”. It was a very moving story. This is exactly what God the Father has done for us.

Jesus took the punishment that we deserve on Himself… Isaiah in Chapter 53 “ He laid on him the iniquity of us all…”.

As Armenians, we cross ourselves during the Badarak … for a purpose. My father told us when we make the sign of the cross we must always remember that “God sent His only Son into our world (top to bottom) to transfer us from the darkness of our sin in to the light of His Kingdom (left to right)”.  This I do gladly and lovingly… because God loved me and died for me.

Let us all take the path of following Christ on this Good Friday.

Where ever you go in today’s Armenia and Eastern Turkey… you will see scattered crosses.

Due to the fact that Armenians were invaded by various surrounding powers and subjected to all sorts of pressure and genocide… they used to tattoo their children with a cross… either on their hands or body… to identify that they Christians.

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