Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday of the Holy Week

Friday of the Holy Week

Readings: Isa 52:13 – 53:12; Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9; Jn 18-19.

1/ Reading I: NAB Isaiah 52:13 See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. 14 Even as many were amazed at him-- so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals-- 15 So shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it. 53:1 Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. 3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. 4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. 6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. 7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. 8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, 9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. 10 (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. 11 Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. 12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.

2/ Reading II: NAB Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. 16 So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. NAB Hebrews 5:7 In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 9 and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

 

3/ Gospel: NAB John 18:1 When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. 2 Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?" 5 They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean." He said to them, "I AM." Judas his betrayer was also with them. 6 When he said to them, "I AM," they turned away and fell to the ground. 7 So he again asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus the Nazorean." 8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go." 9 This was to fulfill what he had said, "I have not lost any of those you gave me." 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?" 12 So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, 13 and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people. 15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. 16 But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. 17 Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, "You are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not." 18 Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm. 19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, "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. 21 Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said." 22 When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not." 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?" 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed. 28 Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and said, "What charge do you bring (against) this man?" 30 They answered and said to him, "If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you." 31 At this, Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law." The Jews answered him, "We do not have the right to execute anyone," 32 in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die. 33 So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" 35 Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" 36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." 37 So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." 38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" 40 They cried out again, "Not this one but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a revolutionary. 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, 3 and they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. 4 Once more Pilate went out and said to them, "Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him." 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, "Behold, the man!" 6 When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." 7 The Jews answered, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." 8 Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, 9 and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" Jesus did not answer him. 10 So Pilate said to him, "Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?" 11 Jesus answered (him), "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin." 12 Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, "If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar." 13 When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge's bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your king!" 15 They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." 20 Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that he said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'" 22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. 24 So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): "They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots." This is what the soldiers did. 25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 28 After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." 29 There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. 31 Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken." 37 And again another passage says: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced." 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. 39 Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. 41 Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. 42 So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.

I. THEME: Christ reaches the highest glory by passing through the most painful suffering.

            Today Liturgical of the Words center on Christ’s sufferings and the reasons why he wanted to go through these sufferings.

            In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah clearly declared that the reason why God’s Suffering Servant endured sufferings is to bear our injuries. “It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured... He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.”

            In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews proved that Christ is the most excellent high priest because he knew both what are in God and what are in men, so that he could effectively intercede with God for human beings. Moreover, due to his obedience to God and his sufferings, he becomes the source of salvation to all.

            In the Gospel, the evangelist of the Fourth Gospel reported Christ’s Passion, from the time he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot until Joseph Arithmatha and Nicodemus buried him on a tomb. Jesus knew in advance all sufferings shall happen to him, he courageously faced and endured them.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The fourth song of God’s Suffering Servant           

            In the fourth and last song, God gave the reasons why His Suffering Servant must suffer; that are: first, to suffer all punishments for human beings; and secondly, to reach the highest glory.

1.1/ The Suffering Servant reached the highest glory by passing through the most painful suffering: The prophet Isaiah wanted to emphasize on the way the Suffering Servant reached the highest glory is through the most intensely painful sufferings.

            We need to pay a special attention to the four verbs which the prophet used on the first verse: “See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted, even as many were amazed at him.” The NAB version didn’t either translate correctly the verse or used the MT version. According to the MT version, one can see the author’s intention in using of the four verbs: “See, My Suffering Servant shall act wisely (sakal), shall be raised high (rum), be praised (nasa), and be greatly exalted (gabah meod).” Since the Suffering Servant knew how to act wisely and effectively, he shall be raised, praised and greatly exalted. We can’t read this verse without thinking of these following passages: Phi 2:6-11; Acts 2:32-33 and Acts 3:13, 26). The author Stier compared three periods of “be raised high, be praised, and be greatly exalted” with three periods of resurrection, ascension and sitting at God’s right hand (Psa 110:1). Who is the Suffering Servant, knew how to act wisely to chieve the highest glory? Some said it was King David; others said it was the Israelites as the whole; some said it was Cyrus, the Persian king. The correct answer was none other than Jesus Christ.

            The sufferings which the Suffering Servant must endure, were exceeding all sufferings which people can think of: “so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals.” The author wanted to emphasize the result of punishments; the Suffering Servant endured so many wicked treatment that he no longer had an appearance of a human being.

            There is a textual difference between LXX and MT versions in verse 52:15. The NAB followed the LXX version and translated it as: “So shall he startle many nations.” According to the MT, “So he shall sprinke (yazah) many nations.” E.J. Young in his commentary of Isaiah explained: The verb “sprinkle” (yazah) is a special verb, is used in Moses’ law for sprinkling oil, water or blood in purifing ceremonies by the priests (cf. Lev 4:6, 8:11, 14:7a). This verse might imply Jesus shall sprinkle his blood on many nations to purify their sins, as the Jews said to Pilate, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Mt 27:25).

1.2/ Human reactions when they saw the Suffering Servant:

            (1) Kings’ reactions: When they witnessed the whole thing, the highest glory and the intense painful sufferings of the Suffering Servant, “kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it.”

            (2) People’s reactions: “Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Since what God has done through the Suffering Servant exceeded human understanding, so they couldn’t believe him. St. Paul called the cross is absurd to the Greek, and shameful to the Jews. They can’t understand why a powerful God wanted His Son to be incarnated in a human body and suffered! But the powerful God shall help people to understand the mystery of the cross and to believe in Christ. This is the content of the Good News.

            The prophet Isaiah reported the Suffering Servant’s life with all the verbs at the past tense: “He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.”

1.3/ The reason for his suffering: The Suffering Servant endured suffering for human beings.

            * The correct reason: “Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured.”

            * The wrong reason: “While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.”

            The prophet explained more in details: “But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all. Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, a grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.”

1.4/ The victories of the Suffering Servant

            (1) God’s will is achieved: The Suffering Servant is the main character in God’s plan of salvation. He shall bring God’s plan to fulfillment and perfection: “If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days.”

            (2) Many shall inherit salvation: The purpose of God’s plan of salvation is to liberate people from sins and to bring salvation to them. These shall be accomplished by the Suffering Servant: “Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.”

2/ Reading II: Christ learned obedience through his sufferings.

2.1/ Christ was tested in all aspects as us, but never committed a sin (Heb 4:14-16): The role of the high priest is to convey God’s message to people and to lead people before God’s presence. A perfect high priest must know both God and people. This role can be fulfilled only by Jesus, the High Priest.

            (1) Christ knows God: because his first nature is God. The author of the Hebrews ascertained this faith: “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.”

            (2) Christ knows human beings: because he was incarnated in a human body. Moreover, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”

            Christ knew, endured and won over temptations more than all human beings. We felt into temptation before the devil use all of their wiched plans, while Christ knew, endured and won over all the devil’s wicked plans. An example will help us to understand this point. When a suspect is tortured, the secret agents shall use the method of torture from light to heavy. The heavy torture is only used for the most courage person. A normal person shall not know all the wicked tortures. Christ was the most courageous person and he knew all the devil’s wicked plans during his life on earth.

            Christ wanted to endure all human sufferings: Both the Greeks and the Jews, even ourselves, couldn’t understand why God wanted to suffer. This is a completely new idea to them. The Greeks believed God is apathy (apatheia). If God is sensitive, he shall change before human sufferings; and if God changes, he is no longer a true God. The one who makes God to change, he shall be greater than God. They couldn’t understand a God who wants to have a relationship with this material world.

            Christ understood all sufferings which human beings must go through. None can effectively help a person to solve his problem better than the one who had experience about that problem. Christ can effectively help people because he went through all sufferings and was victorious over all of them.

2.2/ Christ becomes the source of salvation to all who obeys him (Heb 5:7-9). The author of Hebrews briefly summarized Christ’s work of salvation as follows:

            (1) Christ knew what shall happen to him in the Passion: According to the Synoptics, Jesus wept in the Ghetsemane garden because he must face his Passion and Death. During this moment, he prayed to the Father to choose for him another way, if it is possible. The author of Hebrews described this moment in other words: “In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”

            (2) Jesus obeyed his Father even he must accept death: The author continued: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”

            (3) When he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

 

3/ Gospel: The Passion of Jesus Christ according to St. John

            We have four Passion accounts from the four evangelists; and no account is exactly the same with others. Is this meant Jesus’ Passion didn’t happen? None can conclude as such because all four evangelists reported many similar things besides their small differences. This can happen to any event if we have four reporters to report it, because each sees the event under different angle and reports it according to what information are avaiable to him; what he believes they are true; and his way to present the report.

            In order to help the reader to recognize what are common to all four accounts, I outlined the main frame of Jesus’ Passion and Death which are:

            (1) Judas’ betrayal and Jesus was arrested;

            (2) Jesus before the high priest(s) and Peter’s denial;

            (3) Jesus before Pilate;

            (4) Jesus was scourged and crucified to the cross;

            (5) Jesus was on the cross; and

            (6) Jesus was buried.

            On Holy Friday, we always read the Passion account according to St. John. We can outline John’s view of Jesus’ Passion as follows:

            (1) Jesus knew everything which are going to happen to him, and he was willing to accept them. He was very confident of God’s plan; therefore, in John, there were: no agony on the Ghetsemane garden; no Simon Cyrene to help Jesus carrying the cross; no complaining to the Father on the cross.

            (2) There are events which are particular to John: The leaders and soldiers felt to the ground when Jesus declared “I AM;” John paid a special attention to Pilate’s and a little attention to the high priest’s interrogations; Jesus protected and esteemed the truth during both the high priest’s and Pilate’s interrogations; the wonderful exchange between Mary and the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross.

            (3) There was no Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist in Johannine Passion. This institution was replaced by Jesus’ discourse on the Eucharist (chapter 6) and Jesus’ washing of the apostles’ feet (chapter 13).

3.1/ Judas’ betrayal: “Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.”

                  (1) Jesus confidently handled his arrest: “Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?" They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean." He said to them, "I AM." Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, "I AM," they turned away and fell to the ground. So he again asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" They said, "Jesus the Nazorean."” The title “I AM” was John’s favotite title; there are seven times Jesus used this titles with the object, such as: the bread of life, the Good Shepherd; the way, the truth and the light, etc.

            (2) Jesus protected his apostles: “Jesus answered, "I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go." This was to fulfill what he had said, "I have not lost any of those you gave me."”

                  (3) Peter protected Jesus: “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus.”

                  (4) Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?"

3.2/ Jesus went before the high priests: “So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.”

            (1) The high priest Hannah questioned Jesus: “The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, "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. They know what I said."”

            (2) Jesus stood for the truth: “When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”

            (3) Peter denied Jesus three times: “Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.”

            In John, Peter’s trial happened at the same time with Jesus’ trial; while Jesus was questioned by the high priest inside, Peter was questioned by the his household members outside.

            - The first time: “Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, "You are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not."”

            - The second time: “Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not."”

            - The third time: “One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?" Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.”

3.3/ Jesus went before Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judah: “Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.”

            (1) Pilate denied to judge Jesus: “So Pilate came out to them and said, "What charge do you bring (against) this man?" They answered and said to him, "If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you." At this, Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law." The Jews answered him, "We do not have the right to execute anyone," in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.”

            The Sandherin had power only on religious matters and no right to execute anyone. In the Synoptic accounts, they condemned Jesus of blasphemy because Jesus declared that “he is the son of God.” They knew that Pilate shall not persecute Jesus because of his blasphemy; therefore they must find a political cause, that is: “Jesus called himself the king.” Anyone who proclaimed himself a king, he was against emperor Caesar. If Jesus were died according to Jewish way, he shall be stoned to death because of blasphemy. If Jesus was condemned to die by the Roman Prefect, he shall be crucified on the cross.

            (2) Pilate interrogated Jesus: So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him,

            - "Are you the King of the Jews?"

              - Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?"

            - Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?"

            - Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here."

            - So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

            - Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

            Jesus stopped because Pilate had no concept of the truth. Such person can’t live and witness for the truth. Jesus accepted that he is the king; but not a political or worldly king like Caesar.

            (3) Pilate wanted to set Jesus free. “When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" They cried out again, "Not this one but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.”

            The Jews treated Jesus less than a criminal when they chose to set free Barabbas!

            (4) Pilate let his soldiers mock and scourge Jesus: Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly.”

            (5) “Once more Pilate went out and said to them, "Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him." So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them,

            - "Behold, the man!"

            - When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"

            - Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him."

            - The Jews answered, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."

            - Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid.

            (6) Pilate tried to find a way to release Jesus.

            - Pilate went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" Jesus did not answer him. So Pilate said to him, "Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?"

            - Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin."

Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, "If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar."

            (7) Pilate gave Jesus for them to be crucified. When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge's bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your king!" They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

            The Jews committed blasphemy when they said, “We have no king but Caesar.” They believed that they have only one king, that is God.

3.4/ Jesus is crucified to the cross: “So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.”

            (1) The Jews made a petition to change the sign on Jesus’ head: “Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that he said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."”

            This is the truth. Pilate unintentionally declared the truth and the Jews must accept it, though unwillingly.

            (2) The soldiers divided Jesus’ garments: “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): "They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots." This is what the soldiers did.”

3.5/ Jesus died on the cross: “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.”

              (1) The wonderful exchange at the foot of the cross: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”

            (2) Jesus’ last words: After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

            Jesus is thirsty of people’s love, not of water. When Jesus said “It is finished,” he knew that he has completed his mission on earth and brought God’s will to perfection. St. John carefully used the words, “And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” Jesus fulfilled his promise to the apostles that he shall pray to the Father to send them the Spirit to be with them all the days of their life (cf. Jn 14:17, 26, 15:26). He officially sent the Spirit to them at the Pentecost.

3.6/ Jesus was buried: “Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.”

            (1) Jesus was pierced on the side: “But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken." And again another passage says: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced."

            This event is also peculiar to the Fourth Gospel. Water and blood are two symbols for sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist in John.

            (2) Jesus’ burial: There were two peoples that buried Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. St. John briefly gave the backgrounds of these two:

            - Joseph of Arimathea: “secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body.”                 

              - Nicodemus: “the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.” Nicodemus was mentioned three times in the Fourth Gospel (cf. Jn 3:1-9, 7:50, 19:39).

            “They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - Every time we read the Passion of Christ, we should realize that we are the ones who must go through these sufferings, not Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

            - Christ obeyed God and accepted all sufferings to redeem us; what should we do to return God’s love for us?

            - If Jesus accepted obedience and sufferings to show his love for the Father and us, we must also do the same to return God’s love and to bring God’s salvation to all.

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