29, 2002 - Good Friday
JESUS THE NAZARENE
Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and
crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden.
He and his disciples entered it.
Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples
went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the
Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees
followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords.
Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him,
went out and met them. He said, "Who are you after?"
They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
He said, "That's me." The soldiers recoiled, totally
taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
Jesus asked again, "Who are you after?"
They answered, "Jesus the Nazarene."
"I told you," said Jesus, "that's me. I'm the
one. So if it's me you're after, let these others go." (This
validated the words in his prayer, "I didn't lose one of
those you gave.")
Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from
its sheath and struck the Chief Priest's servant, cutting off
his right ear. Malchus was the servant's name.
Jesus ordered Peter, "Put back your sword. Do you think
for a minute I'm not going to drink this cup the Father gave
Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the
Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first
to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest
that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was
to their advantage that one man die for the people.
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple
was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to
the Chief Priest's courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then
the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got
The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "Aren't
you one of this man's disciples?"
He said, "No, I'm not."
The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and
were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them,
trying to get warm.
Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching.
Jesus answered, "I've spoken openly in public. I've taught
regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all
come together. Everything has been out in the open. I've said
nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator?
Question have been listening to me. They know well what I have
said. My teachings have all been aboveboard."
When he said this, one of the policemen standing there struck
Jesus across the face, saying, "How dare you speak to the
Chief Priest like that!"
Jesus replied, "If I've said something wrong, prove it.
But if I've spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?"
Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to
get warm. The others there said to him, "Aren't you one
of his disciples?
He denied it, "Not me."
One of the Chief Priest's servants, a relative of the man whose
ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden
Again, Peter denied it. just then a rooster crowed.
They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor's palace.
It was early morning. They themselves didn't enter the palace
because they didn't want to be disqualified from eating the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and spoke. "What charge do you
bring against this man?"
They said, "If he hadn't been doing something evil, do you
think we'd be here bothering you?"
Pilate said, "You take him. judge him by your law."
The Jews said, "We're not allowed to kill anyone."
(This would confirm Jesus' word indicating the way he would die.)
Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said,
"Are you the 'King of the Jews'?"
Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own, or did
others tell you this about me?"
Pilate said, "Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your
high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?"
"My kingdom," said Jesus, "doesn't consist of
what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight
so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. But I'm not that
kind of king, not the world's kind of king."
Then Pilate said, "So, are you a king or not?"
Jesus answered, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born
and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone
who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes
Pilate said, "What is truth?"
Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, "I find
nothing wrong in this man. It's your custom that I pardon one
prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the 'King of the
They shouted back, "Not this one, but Barabbas! " Barabbas
was a Jewish freedom fighter.
So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having
braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple
robe over him, and approached him with, "Hail, King of the
Jews!" Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.
Pilate went back out again and said to them, "I present
him to you, but I want you to know that I do not find him guilty
of any crime." just then Jesus came out wearing the them
crown and purple robe.
Pilate announced, "Here he is: the Man."
When the high priests and police saw him, they shouted in a frenzy,
Pilate told them, "You take him. You crucify him. I find
nothing wrong with him."
The Jews answered, "We have a law, and by that law he must
die because he claimed to be the Son of God."
When Pilate heard this, he became even more scared. He went back
into the palace and said to Jesus, "Where did you come from?'
Jesus gave no answer.
Pilate said, "You won't talk? Don't you know that I have
the authority to pardon you, and the authority to crucify you?"
Jesus said, "You haven't a shred of authority over me except
what has been given you from heaven. That's why the one who betrayed
me to you has committed a far greater fault."
At this, Pilate tried his best to pardon him, but the Jews shouted
him down: "If you pardon this man, you're no friend of Caesar's.
Anyone setting himself up as 'king' defies Caesar."
When Pilate heard those words, he led Jesus outside. He sat down
at the judgment seat in the area designated Stone Court (in Hebrew,
Gabbatha). It was the preparation day for Passover. The hour
was noon. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your king."
They shouted back, "Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!"
Pilate said, "I am to crucify your king?"
The high priests answered, "We have no king except Caesar."
Pilate caved in to their demand. He turned him over to be crucified.
They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the
place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where
they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side,
Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote a sign and had it placed on
the cross. It read:
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Many of the Jews read the sign because the
place where Jesus was crucified was right next to the city It
was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, The Jewish high priests
objected. "Don't write," they said to Pilate, "'The
King of the Jews.' Make it, 'This man said, "I am the King
of the Jews."'"
Pilate said, "What I've written, I've written."
When they crucified him, the Roman soldiers took his clothes
and divided them up four ways, to each soldier a fourth. But
his robe was seamless, a single piece of weaving, so they said
to each other, "Let's not tear it up. Let's throw dice to
see who gets it.' This confirmed the Scripture that said, "They
divided up my clothes among them and threw dice for my coat."
(The soldiers validated the Scriptures!)
While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus' mother,
his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at
the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple
he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, "Woman,
here is your son." Then to the disciple, "Here is your
mother." From that moment the disciple accepted her as his
Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the
Scripture record might also be complete, then said, "I'm
A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked
with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After
he took the wine, Jesus said, "It's done ... complete."
Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.
Then the Jews, since it was the day of Sabbath preparation, and
so the bodies wouldn't stay on the crosses over the Sabbath (it
was a high holy day that year), petitioned Pilate that their
legs be broken to speed death, and the bodies taken down. So
the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man crucified
with Jesus, and then the other. When they got to Jesus, they
saw that he was already dead, so they didn't break his legs.
One of the soldiers stabbed him in the side with his spear. Blood
and water gushed out.
The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report.
He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also,
These things that happened confirmed the Scripture, "Not
a bone in his body was broken," and the other Scripture
that reads, "They will stare at the one they pierced."
After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus,
but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned
Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So
Joseph came and took the body.
Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in
broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five
pounds. They took Jesus' body and, following the Jewish burial
custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden
near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb
in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath
preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed
Jesus in it.
<The Message >
For such a long passage only three small questions. How would
you describe your life in gardening terms?
With what "sword" do you defend that which does not
If life is not already "complete," when will it be?
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