Today, at the time of this writing, is Good Friday.
As we walk through the Gospel of John, today, on good Friday, we find ourselves with Jesus on the Good Friday, the original Good Friday. Maybe that’s not a coincidence. So for that reason, I’m posting on Friday, instead of Saturday morning as I usually do.
In our last post from the book of John we saw how Jesus was interrogated by Annas, former high priest and father-in-law of the current high priest at that time. During this interrogation multiple laws were broken by Jesus’ accusers: He was struck by an officer of the Sanhedrin which was against the law, he was tried by Annas alone which was against Jewish law, his accusers attempted to coerce him into convicting himself which was against the law, and he was bound when they took him to Caiaphas, also against Jewish law. (The Truth About Masks (and the truth about us))
From the house of Caiaphas they led him to the Roman governor’s HQ. While they were committing these egregious sins against the Son of God himself, Jesus’ accusers didn’t enter governor Pontius Pilate’s headquarters building, because entering the home of a gentile would make them unclean according to Jewish law, and they wouldn’t be able to celebrate the Passover. It is as Jesus said, truly they were straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. (Matthew 23:24)
So Pilate went outside to them and asks, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
The accusers don’t answer the question, but instead say, “If he were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”
So Pilate says, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
And then they’re agenda is revealed with their next statement: “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”
Killing Jesus was the main objective for these men. Justice had nothing to do with their actions.
So Pilate, the politician, walks back into his headquarters and says to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus says, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
Pilate says, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus says, “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.”
Then Pilate says, “So you are a king?”
Jesus answers, “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 really has no answer to Jesus’ words. So he says, “What is truth?” (A crazy question to ask when the Truth Himself is standing there, right in front of you.)
Pilate goes back outside to the Jews and tells them: “I find no guilt in him.” Because of course, there is no guilt in him. None at all.
Then Pilate offers the Jews a way to free Jesus. He reminds them that one prisoner is always released at Passover and he suggests they have him release Jesus.
But they cry out, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a robber.)
Pilate is feeling the political pressure. This is emphasized in another Gospel where Pilate’s wife shares with him about her dream. While Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat she sent this word to him: “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” But the Jewish leadership wants Jesus dead. So in an effort to appease them, Pilate has Jesus flogged. And, his soldiers craft a thorny crown and press it on Jesus’ head. And they dress him in a purple robe. And they mock him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they strike him with their hands. (Matthew 27:19)
After this Pilate presents him to the Jewish leaders with the crown of thorns on his head and the purple robe. “See, I am bringing him out to you so you know I find no guilt in him.”
And then Pilate says: “Behold the man!”
But when the chief priests and the officers see Jesus like this they cry out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate says, “Take him youselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”
Then the Jewish leaders say, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard this he was even more afraid. It may be that at this point, Pilate recognizes Jesus is more than a man. So he goes back inside and asks Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus didn’t answer.
So Pilate says, “You will not speak to me? Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”
Jesus says, “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.”
From then on Pilate sought to release Jesus but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar’s. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So, they’re threatening Pilate. They’re saying they’ll charge him with treason if he doesn’t crucify Jesus.
When Pilate heard this he brought Jesus out and sat on the judgment seat. It was the day of Preparation of the Passover about the sixth hour.
Pilate says, “Behold your King!”
They cry out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!”
Pilate says, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests say, “We have no king but Casaer.”
So Pilate delivered him over to them to be crucified.
They took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross to the spot called The Place of the Skull. And they crucified him there with a criminal hanging from a cross on either side. Pilate made a sign and posted it on the cross where Jesus hung. It read: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Pilate wrote this in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. The chief priests protested, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but instead write, ‘This man said, I am the King of the Jews.'”
But Pilate said, “What I have written I have written.”
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four piles, one for each soldier. Jesus’ tunic was left over so they cast lots to see who would get it. (Psalm 22:18)
While the soldiers did these things, Jesus’ mother Mary was standing near the cross with two other followers of Jesus who were women and with John.
Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
Then he said to John, “Behold, your mother!”
And John took her into his household.
In another Gospel we see those who passed by deriding Jesus, “wagging their heads” at him. The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him.”
There was darkness over the whole area from the sixth hour to the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:39-46, Psalm 22:1)
After this, Jesus, knowing that now it was all finished, said, “I thirst.”
There was a jar of sour wine nearby so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. (Psalm 69:21)
Then Jesus said, “It is finished.”
And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Since it was the day of Preparation, and also the Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of those hanging on the crosses to speed their death so the bodies could be removed. Again we see them concerned about the letter of the law in the midst of the atrocity they’re committing against God Himself.
So the soldiers broke the legs of the two criminals on either side of Jesus, but when they came to Jesus, he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. Instead they pierced his side with a spear, perhaps to confirm he was dead, and blood and water came out. (Psalm 34:20, Zechariah 12:10)
“It is finished,” Jesus said.
Jesus, the good shepherd, has died for you, and for me.
He has taken away the sins of the whole world.
Psalm 22, written in 587 BC, selected verses:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.
Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 14, 16-18, 27-31
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