Good Friday, 2021
Every Good Friday we read the Gospel of John account of the Passion of the Lord. It’s much different than Mark’s which we read on Palm Sunday. Here are a few examples:
- There is no “Agony in the Garden”;
- There is no kiss by Judas to point out which person is Jesus;
- Jesus before Pilate only says three word (You say so) and then is silent;
- No one helped Jesus carry the cross;
- No mention of the passersby , the chief priests, the scribes , the elders, and even those reviling and mocking Jesus;
- No mention of darkness covering the land from noon to three in the afternoon;
- No crying out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
- Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body which he wrapped in a linen cloth and laid him in a tomb.
Now what has John added:
- John makes clear that Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him;
- Jesus identifies himself as “I AM”, causing the arresting crowd to turn away and fall to the ground;
- Another disciple accompanied Peter and helped Peter to get into the courtyard of the high priest;
- Pilate and Jesus have many conversations and Pilate back and forth between Jesus and the chief priests and the crowds;
- Some women, including his mother, were standing by the cross, not at a distance; and, Jesus took care of his by giving care for her to the disciple whom he loved;
- Jesus handed his spirit over to the Father without a loud cry, but instead saying, “It is finished”;
- John has a soldier thrust a lance into Jesus side after he died;
- Joseph of Arimathea is joined by Nicodemus who brought about 100 lbs. of spices which they included with the burial cloths;
- John mentions another garden in the place where Jesus had been crucified
Thus John in his account has Jesus in control from the beginning. Despite being treated as a common criminal and condemned to death, Jesus exhibits a peaceful dignity through it all. Jesus is a victim but never victimized. In fact, everyone else is on trial except Jesus: the chief priests, the crowd, Pilate, and ourselves.
“It is finished”, he softly says before bowing his head and dies; finished in the sense that Jesus was a perfect example of obedience to the Father’s will, accepting even death, death on a cross for humanity’s sake and the salvation it accomplished.
But, we know his death was not the ending.