Jesus is condemned to die

Reading: Matthew 27:15-26

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus[b] Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Refrain:

For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation.

Reflection:

  • How could such injustice have been allowed to happen?
  • Where were the lawyers to defend Jesus?
  • Where were the people who knew Jesus was innocent?
  • Would I have stood by and let this happen?

But injustice happens all the time; and how often I stand by and do nothing! Father forgive us for our failure to defend the innocent and to speak out against unjust laws. Help us come to the aid of those who are unable to fend  for themselves.

Silence

Refrain:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.

 

Jesus carries the cross and Simon helps him

Reading: Mark 15:16-20 + Luke 23:26

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Refrain:

For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation.

Reflection:

  • Did Simon of Cyrene realise who he was helping?

He could never have guessed that 2000 years later we would be remembering his part as a supporter of Jesus in his mission to save us from sin. The chance for us to help Jesus lies before us. We can still support Jesus in his mission of salvation.  This is our great privilege, that God has called us, individually and as a church, to carry our cross, to risk all for the love of God.

Silence

Refrain:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.

 

Jesus is stripped and is nailed to the cross

Reading: John 19:23b-24 + Luke 23:32-43

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”[aSo this is what the soldiers did.

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Refrain:

For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation.

Reflection:

Forgiveness! Reconciliation! Isn’t this what it is all about! I need to be forgiven for all my sinfulness, for my coldness and lack of love, for my sub-standard commitment. More importantly, I need to offer God’s forgiveness and reconciliation to others.

Silence

Refrain:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.

 

Jesus dies on the cross

Reading: John 19:28-37

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

Refrain:

For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation.

Reflection:

Jesus truly dies, because he is truly man. He hands over his last breath to the Father. O, how precious is that breath! The breath of life was given to the first man, and it is given to us in a new way, after the resurrection of Jesus, so that we are able to offer every breath to him who gave us breath. The meaning and value of a life are determined by the manner in which it is given away. There is no greater love than that which leads us to lay down our life for our friends. Those who are attached to life will lose it. Those who are ready to sacrifice it will keep it.

Silence

Refrain:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.

 

Jesus is taken down from the cross

Reading: John 19:38-40

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Refrain:

For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation.

Reflection:

For those who were there when Jesus was taken down from the cross, there must have seemed no hope. They were just doing what was right for Jesus out of their love for him. But, precisely because of his suffering and death and sacrifice, we can know now, that there is always hope.

Silence

Refrain:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.

 

Jesus is laid in the tomb

Reading: John 19:41-42

41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Refrain:

For God alone my soul waits in silence. From Him comes my salvation.

Reflection:

When Jesus was placed in the tomb, and the stone rolled in place, and the guard was stationed. Humanity had done all that it could, stooped as low as it could ever go. It is Friday… But Sunday is coming… And indeed has come… So while we wait, we remember, and worship the one who makes every day a Sunday – a resurrection day!

Silence

Refrain:

Lord, by your cross and resurrection, You have set us free.

 

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