Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Psalm 22:1-11 Hebrews 10:16-25 John 18:1-19:42
Many of us have been at the bedside of a dying friend or relative. When I was sitting with my brother, holding his hand, whispering memories, it was holy ground and sacred time. The readings for Good Friday bring all of us, the entire congregation together in a deathwatch as we stand at the foot of the cross, suffer with our friend Jesus, and see him draw his last breath. It is an opportunity to share the experience and to draw strength from one another.
Every year on Good Friday, we replay the details of Jesus’ death to make sure we get the story straight and also, to find ourselves in the story. None of us would have done what Judas did, would we? Betrayed Jesus? Unless we believed that he was the political Messiah we had been waiting for, and all that was needed to get the revolution going was a good strong push. Have we ever pushed someone in a similar way because of our impatience? Is there anything of Judas in us?
None of us would have done what Peter did, would we? Promised to follow Jesus to the grave and then denied him because of a silly servant girl’s question? Who knows what we would really do in that situation? Who knows how strong our survival instincts may be? Give Peter credit for wanting to be a better man than he was, for taking a swing at the high priest’s servant, for showing up in the chilly courtyard at all.
None of us would have done what Caiaphas did, would