Good Friday: Meditate on Christ’s Passion

Jerusalem, City of our Suffering SaviorConsider the events which occurred during the first Passion Week, in which our Lord prepared to go to the cross, to pay the ransom that redeemed the souls of all those his Father gave him (John 6:37-40):

Jesus Christ, having been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Temple Guards through the guidance of Judas Iscariot, is brought to the house of Annas, who is father-in-law of the current high priest, Caiaphas. There he is interrogated with little result, and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest, where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1-24).

Conflicting testimony against Jesus is brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answers nothing. Finally the high priest adjures Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying “I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?” Jesus testifies in the affirmative, “You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.” The high priest condemns Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrinconcurs with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57-66).

In the morning the whole assembly brings Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king (Luke 23:1-2). Pilate authorizes the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own Law and execute sentencing, however the Jewish leaders reply that they are not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death (John 18:31).

Pilate questions Jesus, and tells the assembly that there is no basis for sentencing. Upon learning that Jesus is from Galilee, Pilate refers the case to the ruler of Galilee, King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Herod questions Jesus but receives no answer; Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate tells the assembly that neither he nor Herod have found guilt in Jesus; Pilate resolves to have Jesus whipped and released (Luke 23:3-16).

It was a custom during the feast of Passover for the Romans to release one prisoner as requested by the Jews. Pilate asks the crowd who they would like to be released. Under the guidance of the chief priests, the crowd asks for Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. Pilate asks what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demand, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:6-14). Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day; she forewarns Pilate to “have nothing to do with this righteous man” (Matthew 27:19).

Pilate has Jesus flogged, then brings him out to the crowd to release him. The chief priests inform Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death “because he claimed to be God’s son.” This possibility filled Pilate with fear, and he brought Jesus back inside the palace and demanded to know from where he came (John 19:1-9).

Coming before the crowd one last time, Pilate declares Jesus innocent, washing his own hands in water to show he has no part in this condemnation. Nevertheless, Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified in order to forestall a riot (Matthew 27:24-26). The sentence written is “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus carries his cross to the site of execution, called the place of the Skull, or “Golgotha” in Hebrew and “Calvary” in Latin. There he is crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17-22).

Jesus agonizes on the cross for three hours while the sun is darkened. With a loud cry, Jesus gives up his spirit. There is an earthquake, tombs break open, and the curtain in the Temple is torn from top to bottom. The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declares, “Truly this was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:45-54).

Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and secret follower of Jesus, who had not consented to his condemnation, goes to Pilate to request the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50-52). Pilate asks confirmation from the centurion whether Jesus is dead (Mark 15:44). A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out (John 19:34), and the centurion informs Pilate that Jesus is dead (Mark 15:45).

Joseph of Arimathea takes the body of Jesus, wraps it in a clean linen shroud, and places it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock (Matthew 27:59-60) in a garden near the site of crucifixion. Another secret follower of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus (John 3:1) also came bringing 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, and places them in the linen with the body of Jesus, according to Jewish burial customs (John 19:39-40). They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb (Matthew 27:60). Then they returned home and rested, because at sunset began the Sabbath (Luke 23:54-56). —from Wikipedia

Over at Google Maps, you can view a satellite image of Jerusalem and the surrounding area, with tags identifying the events of the entire Passion Week from Christ’s Triumphal Entry, which we commemorated last Sunday through Good Friday which we commemorate tomorrow (or today, depending on when you are reading this). Each tag links to Scripture passages about each event identified on the satellite map.

Now, respond to that which you have taken in about the last week of the life of the Lord Jesus, by singing or praying this hymn written in 1630 by Johann Heermann called, “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended?” It is #248 in the Trinity Hymnal.

Ah, Holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that man to judge thee hath in hate pretended? By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thiee. ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee:  I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered:  for man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth, God interceedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation:  thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.


2 responses

  1. Excellent work, I love the google map with all the sites marked. Thanks for your comments on my blog, I thought they were very well stated and I was wondering if you would mind if I used them in a post to get your point across, with the obligatory link to your blog of course.

  2. Thanks for the feedback on the maps. I fear a post like that is nothing more than information overload to most, which makes it go unexplored. Your input is encouraging.

    I’m also glad my words weren’t wasted on your discussion about baptism. But, being a lifelong Independent Baptist, who has Reformed to the paedobaptistic view without the benefit of sharing that view with some of the most important folks in my life, and thus Reforming to a Southern Baptist Church by God’s good and wise providence, I’ve been examining and reexamining the issue of baptism to verify that paedobaptism really is the truly biblical position. I mean, if God’s currently “providentially hindering” me to continue worshiping and serving among the Baptists, perhaps he’s trying to tell me something? So, I pray and I study what has been happening is that through all this effort, I continue deepening my understanding of, and conviction that, paedobaptism truly is the biblical view. This makes me an expert by no means, but the point I made at your post is about as fundamental to the disagreement between so-called credobaptists (advocates of Believer’s Baptism only by immersion only) and paedobaptists (advocates of baptizing children of believers) as I’ve found. I’m looking forward to what you do with it.

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