Good Friday Homily

Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25 (Luke 23:46)
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1-19:42
April 19, 2019

Knowing everything that was going to happen to him,” Jesus first went off with his disciples.  Since He knew what was going to happen to him, He could have chosen to go off to a secret or new place that Judas did not know about.  Jesus didn’t do that.  He went to a place where He often met with his disciples.  Jesus did not hide.  In fact, when they came looking for him, He went out to them and spoke first.

He is not afraid for himself.  He knows what must happen but He is always concerned for his people.  With their protection in mind, He says to Judas and the soldiers, “So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 

Jesus is arrested and put on trial.  It begins with him being questioned by the high priest “about his doctrine.”  Jesus’ response is to stand firm in what He had been saying all along.  He does not change his words to save his skin.

They then take Jesus from the high priest Caiaphas to Pilate to have him executed.  Pilate continues the questioning, first asking the people, “What charge do you bring against this man?”  Their response is, “If he were not a criminal, we would have not have handed him over to you.”  Essentially, they don’t have any charge the Romans are concerned with.

Pilate then begins to question Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” followed by “What have you done?”  Pilate is trying to figure why the Jews are so upset with Jesus, what’s really going on here.

Jesus responds with “You say I am a king.  For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”  Yes, Jesus is all about the truth.

But as Pilate asks, “What is truth?

 Pilate asks a great question.  On a surface level, he is just trying to understand what the Jews have against Jesus.  Yet, I doubt that is all that he is thinking when he asks, “What is truth?

My bet would be that Pilate spent a lot of time trying to keep everyone happy and not fighting.  This probably isn’t the first time the Jews have come to him with some problem that he isn’t concerned with.  On the other hand, he also has to keep Caesar happy.  Each side says things just trying to look righteous like when the crowd against Jesus says, “We have no king but Caesar.”  They want a messiah.  They want a new Jewish king.  Jesus just isn’t who they wanted to suit their desires.

Pilate will go on to speak words of truth.  Three times he said about Jesus, “I find no guilt in him.”  That is the absolute truth.  Jesus is innocent.

Shortly before Jesus’ passion begins, Caiaphas, the high priest who is the first to question Jesus, is the one “who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather the people.

Caiaphas meant these words in human terms.  The way he saw it, they (the Jews) had a nice comfortable relationship with the Romans.  He was afraid that Jesus was a threat to that as the people believed him to be a king.  So, Caiaphas thinks it is better to have Jesus killed than to upset the Romans.

Caiaphas is right that it is better for Jesus to die than the people but not in the way he thinks.  Jesus’ death is not to keep the peace with the Romans.  Jesus dies so that we might not die in our sins.

The truth behind Jesus’ death is found several times in our reading from Isaiah:

  1. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured.
  2. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins.”
  3. but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all.
  4. Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many.

Jesus died for us.  What more can we ask before we place our trust in him.

Caiaphas and those with him found Jesus “an object of reproach.”  When we hold fast to the truth of our faith today, people may not want to hear what we have to say.  They might find us a “laughingstock” or a source of dread. 

They may ridicule us but we are not to fear.  We are not to abandon our faith to keep the peace.  We are to trust in Jesus, giving it all to God as we pray as Jesus did, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

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