Good Friday Meditation

A Good Friday Meditation

On the evening before Good Friday, Jesus had told his disciples to expect his death.

Later, Judas Iscariot betrayed him and this helped the royal soldiers find Jesus in Gethsemane.  After being arrested, Jesus was  questioned by the Sanhedrin and remained silent at first,  but when finally asked if he was the son of God, he responded: “You have said it”.  This  statement meant that he was charged with blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin sentenced him to death.

On Friday morning he was taken to  Pontius Pilate, under the three charges of ‘subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king’.

Pilate asked  the crowd what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demanded: ‘Crucify him’.

Then the chief priests informed Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death ‘because he claimed to be God’s son’. At hearing this, Pilate was filled with fear. He declared Jesus innocent and washed his hands before the crowds, to show he had no part in this condemnation.

Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified, in order to stop a riot and ultimately to keep his job.  A crown of thorns was placed on Jesus’ head, then he was whipped and bound to a wooden cross. Jesus then had to carry his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene).

There, he was crucified along with two criminals.

Two Jewish members of the Sanhedrin, who had been secret followers of Jesus, then took Jesus’ body, embalmed it in spices and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud. They placed it in a new tomb and a large rock was rolled over the entrance.

This then, was Jesus. The man whose judgments were always restrained by love;  whose grace and mercy put his adversaries to shame; whose compassion extended all the way to the furthermost boundaries of life.  What wrong could be attributed to his name?

The religious leaders accused him of breaking the religious codes of the day, yet his purpose was simply to teach and to live the love at the heart of those laws. Whatever his role and purpose, he met the Jewish leaders of his day head-on. On Good Friday, this behaviour culminated in The Cross.  The life of Jesus came to an end. We are left, like the disciples, to watch from the side-lines and wonder, in frustration and anger, at the injustice of it all.

When we open ourselves to the drama of Good Friday, the important question seems not to be “what would Jesus do?”  (we know the answer to that, it’s “on the record”).

The more important question for each of us to meditate on, is:

What would I have done?”

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