Good Friday Homily 2023

Good Friday 2023
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 7, 2023

Jesus is put on trial.  First, He is brought before the high priest who is among those who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

Then He is taken before Pilate.  Pilate asks, “What charge do you bring against this man?”.  The people respond, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.

They present no charge because Jesus is innocent.

Jesus does not say much in his defense.  Rather, He says, “I have spoken publicly to the world.  I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing.  Why ask me?  Ask those who heard me what I said to them.

Jesus does not offer many words in his defense because He doesn’t have to.  He offers no excuses.  He does not claim to have been misunderstood.  He stands by what He has said.  What has been said is true.

Jesus comes to bring us truth.  He says so himself, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

Pilate responds to Jesus saying, “What is truth?”.

Those who arrested Jesus were not interested in the real truth.  They had their perception of what the truth was and Jesus didn’t fit that.

There are people today who say there is no truth.  For them, everyone gets to pick what their “own truth” is.  They are wrong!

There is truth.  Factually, we can see it in simple math.  2 + 2 always equals 4.  The only way to change that is to change the definition of “two”, “plus”, and/or “four”.  That would be ridiculous.  If anyone can change the definition of basic words, we would not be able to communicate with each other at all

Still, how do we know what Jesus says is true?

As John writes his gospel, the whole gospel is written as testimony to who Jesus is.  The ultimate testimony offered are the seven great signs that Jesus does.  They begin with the changing of the water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana.  It includes the healing of the man born blind and concludes with the raising of Lazarus.  All these reveal that Jesus has power from God.  You can believe what He says.

In his Passion, we see Jesus’ own words fulfilled.  In John 6:39, Jesus had said that He will not lose any of those who the Father has given him.  As Jesus is arrested He says of his disciples, “let these men go.

So much of what happens to Jesus in his Passion fulfills Old Testament prophecies like those in our first reading and psalm today.  It’s all true, “so marred was his look beyond human semblance…Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured…But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins.

Isaiah writes, “Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter.”  Jesus could have offered a great discourse explaining everything before Pilate.  He did not.  He didn’t need to.  He had always spoken the truth and He knew that his hour had come.  It was time for him to give his life for us.

Why?  Because, as Isaiah wrote, “We had all gone astray like sheep.”  This is true even today.  We have gone astray from God’s ways.  We have sinned.  What are we to do? 

Confess our sins and repent!  Follow the truth that Jesus brings us.  Jesus, “though he had done no wrong,” took the punishment for our sins upon himself.  That’s the Truth!  Thank you Jesus. 

 Jesus did not hide when they came to arrest him.  In fact, He was in the garden where Judas knew Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples.  As those looking to arrest him came, He went out to them and freely told them that He was the one they were looking for.

The truth?  Of course, Jesus speaks the truth but He isn’t the only one who provides truth about Jesus.

When they bring Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest, we are reminded that Caiaphas had said, “it was better that one man should die rather than the people” (John 11:50).  When Caiaphas said this he was thinking it was better to kill Jesus than to let Jesus stir up trouble with the Romans.  His thinking was misguided but his words have truth.  It is better for Jesus to die then for all of us to die from our sins.

The Jews were the ones expecting a Messiah.  They should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah but many did not.  So, they said that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy. 

On the other hand, it was Pilate who three times said of Jesus, “I find no guilt in him.”  Jesus is indeed innocent.  To become the Passover lamb, He had to be the one “without blemish.”

What Jesus says is true.  God offers us truth in the Bible as his Word.  God offers us truth through the Holy Spirit.  We should listen to him.


I will end with four words that express the ultimate truth, words that should lead us to listen to God.

The four words? 

Jesus died for you!

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