ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – Today is Good Friday. As we head in to Easter Sunday, I repeat these excerpts for you from the Gospel of John. If you prefer, you can watch this video clip:
19:1-3 – Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged, and the soldiers twisted thorn-twigs into a crown and put it on his head, threw a purple robe around him and kept coming into his presence, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And then they slapped him with their open hands.
19:4 – Then Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I bring him out before you here, to show that I find nothing criminal about him at all.”
19:5 – And at this Jesus came outside too, wearing the thorn crown and the purple robe. “Look,” said Pilate, “here’s the man!”
19:6 – The sight of him made the chief priests and Jewish officials shout at the top of their voices, “Crucify! Crucify!” “You take him and crucify him,” retorted Pilate. “He’s no criminal as far as I can see!”
19:7 – The Jews answered him, “We have a Law, and according to that Law, he must die, for he made himself out to be Son of God!”
19:8-9 – When Pilate heard them say this, he became much more uneasy, and returned to the palace again and spoke to Jesus, “Where do you come from?”
19:10 – But Jesus gave him no reply. So Pilate said to him, “Won’t you speak to me? Don’t you realize that I have the power to set you free, and I have the power to have you crucified?”
19:11 – “You have no power at all against me,” replied Jesus, “except what was given to you from above. And for that reason the one who handed me over to you is even more guilty than you are.”
19:12 – From that moment, Pilate tried hard to set him free but the Jews were shouting, “If you set this man free, you are no friend of Caesar! Anyone who makes himself out to be a king is anti-Caesar!”
19:13-14 – When Pilate heard this, he led Jesus outside and sat down upon the Judgment-seat in the place called the Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was preparation day of the Passover and it was now getting on towards midday. Pilate said to the Jews, “Look, here’s your king!”
19:15 – At which they yelled, “Take him away, take him away, crucify him!”
“Am I to crucify your king?” Pilate asked them. “Caesar is our king and no one else,” replied the chief priests.
19:16a – And at this Pilate handed Jesus over to them for crucifixion.
19:16b-21 – So they took Jesus and he went out carrying the cross himself, to a place called Skull Hill (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they crucified him, and two others, one on either side of him with Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a placard written out and put on the cross, reading, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This placard was read by many of the Jews because the place where Jesus was crucified was quite near Jerusalem, and it was written in Hebrew as well as in Latin and Greek. So the chief priests said to Pilate, “You should not write ‘The King of the Jews’, but ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'”
19:22 – To which Pilate retorted, “Indeed? What I have written, I have written.”
19:23-24 – When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes between them, taking a quarter-share each. There remained his shirt, which was seamless – woven in one piece from the top to the bottom. So they said to each other, “Don’t let us tear it; let’s draw lots and see who gets it.” This happened to fulfil the scripture which says – ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots’.
19:25-27 – While the soldiers were doing this, Jesus’ mother was standing near the cross with her sister, and with them Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary of Magdala. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by her side, and said to her, “Look, there is your son!” And then he said to the disciple, “And there is your mother!” And from that time the disciple took Mary into his own home.
19:28 – After this, Jesus realizing that everything was now completed said (fulfilling the saying of scripture), “I am thirsty.”
19:29-30 – There was a bowl of sour wine standing there. So they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a spear, and pushed it up towards his mouth. When Jesus had taken it, he cried, “It is finished!” His head fell forward, and he died.
19:31-36 – As it was the day of preparation for the Passover, the Jews wanted to avoid the bodies being left on the crosses over the Sabbath (for that was a particularly important Sabbath), and they requested Pilate to have the men’s legs broken and the bodies removed. So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to him, they saw that he was already dead and they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there was an outrush of blood and water. And the man who saw this is our witness: his evidence is true. (He is certain that he is speaking the truth, so that you may believe as well.) For this happened to fulfil the scripture, ‘Not one of his bones shall be broken.’
19:37 – And again another scripture says – ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced.’
19:38-42 – After it was all over, Joseph (who came from Arimathaea and was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly for fear of the Jews) requested Pilate that he might take away Jesus’ body, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took his body down. Nicodemus also, the man who had come to him at the beginning by night, arrived bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. So they took his body and wound it round with linen strips with the spices, according to the Jewish custom of preparing a body for burial. In the place where he was crucified, there was a garden containing a new tomb in which nobody had yet been laid. Because it was the preparation day and because the tomb was conveniently near, they laid Jesus in this tomb.
20:1-2 – But on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala arrived at the tomb, very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and noticed that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. At this she ran, found Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him.”
20:3-10 – Peter and the other disciple set off at once for the tomb, the two of them running together. The other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. He stooped and looked inside and noticed the linen cloths lying there but did not go in himself. Hard on his heels came Simon Peter and went straight into the tomb. He noticed that the linen cloths were lying there, and that the handkerchief, which had been round Jesus’s head, was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up by itself, a little way apart. Then the other disciple, who was the first to arrive at the tomb, came inside as well, saw what had happened and believed. (They did not yet understand the scripture which said that he must rise from the dead.) So the disciples went back again to their homes.
20:11-12 – But Mary stood just outside the tomb, and she was crying. And as she cried, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels in white who sat, one at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had lain.
20:13 – The angels spoke to her, “Why are you crying?” they asked. “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him!” she said.
20:14 – Then she turned and noticed Jesus standing there, without realizing that it was Jesus.
20:15 – “Why are you crying?” said Jesus to her. “Who are you looking for?” She, supposing that he was the gardener, said, “Oh, sir, if you have carried him away, please tell me where you have put him and I will take him away.”
20:16 – Jesus said to her, “Mary!” At this she turned right round and said to him, in Hebrew, “Master!”
20:17 – “No!” said Jesus, “do not hold me now. I have not yet gone up to the Father. Go and tell my brothers that I am going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
20:18 – And Mary of Magdala went off to the disciples, with the news, “I have seen the Lord!”, and she told them what he had said to her.
20:19 – In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples had met together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood right in the middle of them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20:20 – Then he showed them his hands and his side, and when they saw the Lord the disciples were overjoyed.
20:21 – Jesus said to them again, “Yes, peace be with you! Just as the Father sent me, so I am now going to send you.”
20:22-23 – And then he breathed upon them and said, “Receive holy spirit. If you forgive any men’s sins, they are forgiven, and if you hold them unforgiven, they are unforgiven.”