Good Friday 2.4.21

Good Friday 2nd April

Pray – As you settle yourself, take time to reflect on the cost of our sin – the shedding of blood had to take place……….

Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin and the depth of your love: in humble hope and fear may we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Bible Reading – Matthew 27: 11-37

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.’

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ asked the governor.

‘Barabbas,’ they answered.

22 ‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ Pilate asked.

They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’

23 ‘Why? What crime has he committed?’ asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!’

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’

25 All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!’

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers round him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. 30 They spat on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

 

Reflection

What could I do? it’s not my fault, I’m not to blame. I wash my hands of the whole thing. If he wants to die for his so-called kingdom so be it. My concern is this kingdom and the people of my province.

I did try. I gave him every opportunity to confess. I really did. But he wouldn’t answer me, al least not straight answers, he spoke in riddles. My wife sees him in her dreams. Who is he really? There seems to be something different about him, something other-worldly. He just looked at me with those piercing, intelligent eyes. I’ve seen kings and emperors and stood in their courts, he… even beaten, covered in blood and silent, he looked more of a king than any of them. Standing there, silent, with a look of defiance in his eyes. It was as if he actually wanted to be here. Surely he knew that I had the power to release him or have him crucified.

But to be honest I didn’t have the real power and I think he knew that as well as I did. The power was with crowd outside, they were just getting more and more hysterical, baying for his death. I hoped that releasing that traitor Barabbas would be enough and would clam them down, but they were having none of it. All they wanted was the blood of this Jesus of Nazareth. “Crucify! Crucify him!” They got louder and louder. I was getting concerned that they’d storm my palace. I had to give them what they wanted. It’s a shame he has to die, but what else could I do? It’s the first rule we’re taught as governors, give the people what they want, it’s the only way to keep control and to keep the peace.

I will at least give him what he deserves – the official charge will say, “this is the King of the Jews.” That’s all I can do. It’s not my fault! I’m not to blame.

Read – the Bible passage again, imagine yourself there, how would you respond?

 

Pray

Our Father God, as we picture the scene, the crowds shouting and calling for Jesus’ death, the governor, unable to see why? The religious leaders relieved that at last something was going to be done about this man who constantly challenged their authority and way of life, I’m aware that had I been there I might very well have been carried along by the crowd.

Lord God, I hate the humiliation and pain that Jesus suffered, even before the act of crucifixion itself, and yet it had to happen, you had planned it that way so that we could be forgiven. I thank you that Jesus was obedient to you and was willing to go through this most agonising of deaths. I thank you that I can know forgiveness and freedom from sin. I commit myself to you, as the words of the hymn say – Were  the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. Accept my praise and thanks, in Jesus name, Amen.