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Good Friday Homily

Good Friday 2013
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
March 29, 2013

The news is devastating. Jesus, the one they thought to be the Messiah, has been arrested, beaten, mocked, scourged, and crucified.  He is now dead.

How could this be?

He was supposed to defeat the enemy.  The Israelites were ready to be rid of the Romans.  Now, it seems, he has defeated by them.

Or so it seems….

Jesus was not defeated by the Romans.  In fact, Pilate gets a bad rap for being responsible for the Crucifixion of Jesus.  Yet he is the one who repeatedly says “I find no guilt in him.”  Pilate only has Jesus crucified to satisfy the “mob”.  That’s not a good reason but, again, it is not his desire to crucify Jesus.

We see prophecies fulfilled like the dividing of his garments.

In Jesus’ Passion, the words of Isaiah of the Suffering Servant are fulfilled, “so marred was his look beyond human semblances” and he had no stately bearing and he was spurned.

All this is fulfilled in Jesus’ Passion.  Jesus willingly submitted to it.

Jesus knew what was going to happen.  As John tells us, when it was time for his arrest, he went out to them.

So perhaps we can find comfort in knowing this is the fulfillment of God’s plan.

But we can ask ourselves why.

In human terms, Pilate asks for a charge to which the crowd gives a non-answer “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

We find the beginnings of the answer in the words of one of the people responsible for Jesus’ Crucifixion, Caiaphas.  Caiaphas said “that it was better than one man should die rather than the people.”

Caiaphas got it right but for the wrong reason.  He thought it best for Jesus to die so he would not cause trouble with the Romans.  That doesn’t matter.

For the real reason we turn to God’s plan.

Jesus was not crucified to satisfy human power.  Remember Jesus’ words “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above.”

We find the answer from God in the same place we heard prophecies about Jesus’ Passion, in the words of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah writes, “Yet it was our infirmities he bore, our sufferings that he endured…. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins.”

Our sins have offended an infinite God and thus call for an infinite price of restitution.  We are finite creatures and cannot offer an infinite sacrifice.

Christ can… and does.

Jesus really does defeat the real enemy, sin.

Jesus died for our sins.

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