Category Archives: Good Friday

It Wasn’t My Fault

I’ve no idea, why they brought him to me.  Probably trying to get me to do their dirty work, make it all official.  They wanted rid of him, and I was the person they thought would do it.

But I couldn’t do anything.  The rules they insisted he’d broken were religious ones, not ones I could deal with.

They were brutal with him.  Who wants thorns pressing into their skin?  Being beaten, whipped – such physical mocking.  Then not content with that they put a purple robe on him too.  Total public humiliation.

I tried again.  To get them to see sense, realise I could condemn him of nothing.

But they were having none of it.  Nothing was going to satisfy them.  They were baying for blood – and determined to get it.  This poor man.  He really had done nothing wrong.  But he’d obviously made some influential people very angry.

They insisted they were Jewish laws that he’d broken.  What could I do?

I wanted to free him.  I tried to give them a get out clause, but they were having none of it.

It really isn’t my fault he died.

I did nothing to make him hang on the cross.

Did I?

John 19:1-16 (CEV)

19 Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip. The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus. Then they put a purple robe on him. They came up to him and said, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” They also hit him with their fists.

Once again Pilate went out. This time he said, “I will have Jesus brought out to you again. Then you can see for yourselves that I have not found him guilty.”

Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, “Here is the man!”

When the chief priests and the temple police saw him, they yelled, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!”

Pilate told them, “You take him and nail him to a cross! I don’t find him guilty of anything.”

The crowd replied, “He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Jewish Law says that he must be put to death.”

When Pilate heard this, he was terrified. He went back inside and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer.

10 “Why won’t you answer my question?” Pilate asked. “Don’t you know that I have the power to let you go free or to nail you to a cross?”

11 Jesus replied, “If God had not given you the power, you couldn’t do anything at all to me. But the one who handed me over to you did something even worse.”

12 Then Pilate wanted to set Jesus free. But the crowd again yelled, “If you set this man free, you are no friend of the Emperor! Anyone who claims to be a king is an enemy of the Emperor.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out. Then he sat down on the judge’s bench at the place known as “The Stone Pavement.” In Aramaic this pavement is called “Gabbatha.” 14 It was about noon on the day before Passover, and Pilate said to the crowd, “Look at your king!”

15 “Kill him! Kill him!” they yelled. “Nail him to a cross!”

“So you want me to nail your king to a cross?” Pilate asked.

The chief priests replied, “The Emperor is our king!” 16 Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross.

Do Something (2nd Attempt)

(Sorry for previous posting of gibberish – never try to write posts on a phone in the middle of the night!)

This is another of those passages I’m tempted to leave well alone. But if we don’t struggle with such passages, how will we ever come to a deeper understanding of God and faith and so deepen our relationship with him? So here goes. Just some thoughts, feel free to join the conversation and grappling.  (Remembering that such passages are people also grappling with God, who he is and what he means – living in an entirely different time space to our own.)

How often do we long for God to do something in a situation? We cry out for him to act.

Yet if he did what was truly necessary would we be happy with his response?

This passage seems incredibly harsh, but is it what was really needed to sort an awful situation?

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18  (GNT)

The day is near when the Lord will sit in judgment; so be silent in his presence. The Lord is preparing to sacrifice his people and has invited enemies to plunder Judah.

12 “At that time I will take a lamp and search Jerusalem. I will punish the people who are self-satisfied and confident, who say to themselves, ‘The Lord never does anything, one way or the other.’ 13 Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed. They will never live in the houses they are building or drink wine from the vineyards they are planting.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near—very near and coming fast! That day will be bitter, for even the bravest soldiers will cry out in despair! 15 It will be a day of fury, a day of trouble and distress, a day of ruin and destruction, a day of darkness and gloom, a black and cloudy day, 16 a day filled with the sound of war trumpets and the battle cry of soldiers attacking fortified cities and high towers.

17 The Lord says, “I will bring such disasters on the human race that everyone will grope about like someone blind. They have sinned against me, and now their blood will be poured out like water, and their dead bodies will lie rotting on the ground.”

18 On the day when the Lord shows his fury, not even all their silver and gold will save them. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of his anger. He will put an end—a sudden end—to everyone who lives on earth.

As per a discussion on twitter yesterday (Remembrance Sunday) sometimes something we perceive as awful has to happen to stop a bigger travesty.

 I wasn’t necc saying air strikes are wrong – fact that they’re needed is…

Is that how it is with God?  In order to sort one thing, is it necessary that what we perceive to be harsh action has to be taken?  If people were behaving the right way action wouldn’t have to be taken. If they (we) were doing the right thing, no one would be in any danger, because all would be good.

So if we don’t like the idea of God being angry and how that might look, perhaps the answer is in our own, individual and collective, hands.

Of course the other side of this for us that wasn’t true for Zephaniah, is that we live post-Jesus. He came and showed those of us that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, grasp what God had been saying all along what it physically, humanly, should be like. And he gives the possibility of making it alright and a new start if we choose to take it.

The anger and judgement of God displayed in an Old Testament understanding is perfectly understandable. I can see how that was perceived to be what needed to happen.

Thank God we have Jesus, who brings a different way, a fresh hope and a new way!

Lord I know
I get stuff wrong,
behave the wrong way,
say the wrong things,
forget about you,
overlook my fellow human,
sometimes just totally misunderstand.

For that
I deserve for action to be taken,
for there to be consequences.

Thank you for Jesus,
for new hope,
different possibilities,
life in you.

Help me Lord
to live in
and through him.

Life Poured Out vi

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

18 When Jesus had finished praying, he and his disciples crossed the Kidron Valley and went into a garden. Jesus had often met there with his disciples, and Judas knew where the place was.

3-5 Judas had promised to betray Jesus. So he went to the garden with some Roman soldiers and temple police, who had been sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees. They carried torches, lanterns, and weapons. Jesus already knew everything that was going to happen, but he asked, “Who are you looking for?”

They answered, “We are looking for Jesus from Nazareth!”

Jesus told them, “I am Jesus!” At once they all backed away and fell to the ground.

Jesus again asked, “Who are you looking for?”

“We are looking for Jesus from Nazareth,” they answered.

This time Jesus replied, “I have already told you that I am Jesus. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.Then everything will happen, just as I said, ‘I did not lose anyone you gave me.’”

10 Simon Peter had brought along a sword. He now pulled it out and struck at the servant of the high priest. The servant’s name was Malchus, and Peter cut off his right ear. 11 Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away. I must drink from the cup that the Father has given me.”

Jesus Is Brought to Annas

12 The Roman officer and his men, together with the temple police, arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 They took him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 This was the same Caiaphas who had told the Jewish leaders, “It is better if one person dies for the people.”

Peter Says He Doesn’t Know Jesus

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That disciple knew the high priest, and he followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest’s house. 16 Peter stayed outside near the gate. But the other disciple came back out and spoke to the girl at the gate. She let Peter go in, 17 but asked him, “Aren’t you one of that man’s followers?”

“No, I am not!” Peter answered.

18 It was cold, and the servants and temple police had made a charcoal fire. They were warming themselves around it, when Peter went over and stood near the fire to warm himself.

Jesus Is Questioned by the High Priest

19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his followers and his teaching. 20 But Jesus told him, “I have spoken freely in front of everyone. And I have always taught in our meeting places and in the temple, where all of our people come together. I have not said anything in secret. 21 Why are you questioning me? Why don’t you ask the people who heard me? They know what I have said.”

22 As soon as Jesus said this, one of the temple police hit him and said, “That’s no way to talk to the high priest!”

23 Jesus answered, “If I have done something wrong, say so. But if not, why did you hit me?” 24 Jesus was still tied up, and Annas sent him to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter Again Denies that He Knows Jesus

25 While Simon Peter was standing there warming himself, someone asked him, “Aren’t you one of Jesus’ followers?”

Again Peter denied it and said, “No, I am not!”

26 One of the high priest’s servants was there. He was a relative of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off, and he asked, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with that man?”

27 Once more Peter denied it, and right then a rooster crowed.

Jesus Is Tried by Pilate

28 It was early in the morning when Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to the building where the Roman governor stayed. But the crowd waited outside. Any of them who had gone inside would have become unclean and would not be allowed to eat the Passover meal.

29 Pilate came out and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30 They answered, “He is a criminal! That’s why we brought him to you.”

31 Pilate told them, “Take him and judge him by your own laws.”

The crowd replied, “We are not allowed to put anyone to death.” 32 And so what Jesus said about his death would soon come true.

33 Pilate then went back inside. He called Jesus over and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own or did someone tell you about me?”

35 “You know I’m not a Jew!” Pilate said. “Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world. If it did, my followers would have fought to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. No, my kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.”

37 “So you are a king,” Pilate replied.

“You are saying that I am a king,” Jesus told him. “I was born into this world to tell about the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth knows my voice.”

38 Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

Jesus Is Sentenced to Death

Pilate went back out and said, “I don’t find this man guilty of anything! 39 And since I usually set a prisoner free for you at Passover, would you like for me to set free the king of the Jews?”

40 They shouted, “No, not him! We want Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a terrorist.

19 Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip.The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus. Then they put a purple robe on him. They came up to him and said, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” They also hit him with their fists.

Once again Pilate went out. This time he said, “I will have Jesus brought out to you again. Then you can see for yourselves that I have not found him guilty.”

Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, “Here is the man!”

When the chief priests and the temple police saw him, they yelled, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!”

Pilate told them, “You take him and nail him to a cross! I don’t find him guilty of anything.”

The crowd replied, “He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Jewish Law says that he must be put to death.”

When Pilate heard this, he was terrified. He went back inside and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer.

10 “Why won’t you answer my question?” Pilate asked. “Don’t you know that I have the power to let you go free or to nail you to a cross?”

11 Jesus replied, “If God had not given you the power, you couldn’t do anything at all to me. But the one who handed me over to you did something even worse.”

12 Then Pilate wanted to set Jesus free. But the crowd again yelled, “If you set this man free, you are no friend of the Emperor! Anyone who claims to be a king is an enemy of the Emperor.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out. Then he sat down on the judge’s bench at the place known as “The Stone Pavement.” In Aramaic this pavement is called “Gabbatha.”14 It was about noon on the day before Passover, and Pilate said to the crowd, “Look at your king!”

15 “Kill him! Kill him!” they yelled. “Nail him to a cross!”

“So you want me to nail your king to a cross?” Pilate asked.

The chief priests replied, “The Emperor is our king!” 16 Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross.

Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross

Jesus was taken away, 17 and he carried his cross to a place known as “The Skull.” In Aramaic this place is called “Golgotha.” 18 There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of him a man was also nailed to a cross.

19 Pilate ordered the charge against Jesus to be written on a board and put above the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” 20 The words were written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.

The place where Jesus was taken wasn’t far from the city, and many of the Jewish people read the charge against him. 21 So the chief priests went to Pilate and said, “Why did you write that he is King of the Jews? You should have written, ‘He claimed to be King of the Jews.’”

22 But Pilate told them, “What is written will not be changed!”

23 After the soldiers had nailed Jesus to the cross, they divided up his clothes into four parts, one for each of them. But his outer garment was made from a single piece of cloth, and it did not have any seams. 24 The soldiers said to each other, “Let’s not rip it apart. We will gamble to see who gets it.” This happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say,

“They divided up my clothes
and gambled
    for my garments.”

The soldiers then did what they had decided.

25 Jesus’ mother stood beside his cross with her sister and Mary the wife of Clopas. Mary Magdalene was standing there too.26 When Jesus saw his mother and his favorite disciple with her, he said to his mother, “This man is now your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “She is now your mother.” From then on, that disciple took her into his own home.

The Death of Jesus

28 Jesus knew that he had now finished his work. And in order to make the Scriptures come true, he said, “I am thirsty!” 29 A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus’ mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant. 30 After Jesus drank the wine, he said, “Everything is done!” He bowed his head and died.

A Spear Is Stuck in Jesus’ Side

31 The next day would be both a Sabbath and the Passover. It was a special day for the Jewish people, and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses during that day. So they asked Pilate to break the men’s legs and take their bodies down. 32 The soldiers first broke the legs of the other two men who were nailed there. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and they did not break his legs.

34 One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus’ side, and blood and water came out. 35 We know this is true, because it was told by someone who saw it happen. Now you can have faith too. 36 All this happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say, “No bone of his body will be broken”37 and, “They will see the one in whose side they stuck a spear.”

Jesus Is Buried

By RuizAnglada (Own work)

38 Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus’ disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

39 Nicodemus also came with about seventy-five pounds of spices made from myrrh and aloes. This was the same Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night. 40 The two men wrapped the body in a linen cloth, together with the spices, which was how the Jewish people buried their dead. 41 In the place where Jesus had been nailed to a cross, there was a garden with a tomb that had never been used. 42 The tomb was nearby, and since it was the time to prepare for the Sabbath, they were in a hurry to put Jesus’ body there.

Where was I Lord?
What part did I play?
Where am I in all this?

The betrayer?
Easily bought,
persuaded to give you up
for an easy reward.

One sitting in judgement?
Persuaded
by the demands of others.

A denier?
Not me,
I never knew him,
he is nothing to me.

One lashing out?
Afraid,
confused.

Passing the buck?
Not willing to make a decision,
not wanting the responsibility.
Taking the easy way out.
Not wanting to upset anyone.

Going against my better judgement?
Swayed,
oh so easily,
by the crowd.
Doing what pleases others,
unable to stick
with my own integrity,
not strong enough
to stand
for the truth.

One of the crowd?
Dragging others along
to get my own way.
Not caring for the hurt
and the consequences.

The one hammering the nails?
Blow by blow,
fixing you to that cross.

The one who saw the truth
in who you are,
and wasn’t afraid to proclaim it?

One standing at the foot of the cross?
Grieving,
loving,
watching you fade.
Wondering
‘what next?’

Not knowing what to do,
as life flowed from you,
but recognising
love flowed too.

Lord,
I am all of these.

I come in confession.

I come in thanks.

I come in praise.

That you could do
what you did,
despite,
or because of,
what I have done.

And in your life,
poured out,
poured in
to me,
I receive
your forgiveness,
your hope,
your life.

The Power of the Cross