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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

EASTER | Resurrection of Our Lord

Lexegete™ | Year A | Matthew

Vigil of Easter - March 22, 2008
First Reading: Genesis 1:1 2:4a
Response: Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26 (1)
Second Reading: Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13
Response: Psalm 46 (7)
Testing of Abraham
Third Reading: Genesis 22:1-18
Response: Psalm 16 (11)
Deliverance at the Red Sea
Fourth Reading: Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21
Response: Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18 (1)
Salvation Freely Offered to All
Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
Response: Isaiah 12:2-6 (3)
The Wisdom of God
Sixth Reading: Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6
or Baruch 3:9-15, 32 4:4
Response: Psalm 19 (8)
A New Heart and a New Spirit
Seventh Reading: Ezekiel 36:24-28
Response: Psalms 42 and 43 (42:2)
Valley of the Dry Bones
Eighth Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Response: Psalm 143 (11)
Gathering of God's People
Ninth Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20
Response: Psalm 98 (4)
Call of Jonah
Tenth Reading: Jonah 1:1 2:1
Response: Jonah 2:2-3 [4-6] 7-9 (9)
Clothed in the Garments of Salvation
Eleventh Reading: Isaiah 61:1-4, 9-11
Response: Deuteronomy 32:1-4, 7, 36a, 43a (3-4)
Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace
Twelfth Reading: Daniel 3:1-29
Response: Song of the Three Young Men 35-65 (35)
New Testament Reading
Romans 6:3-11
John 20:1-18
Color: White/Gold


March 23, 2008

Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (24)
Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 28:1-10 or John 20:1-18
Color: White/Gold

EASTER EVENING | March 23, 2008

Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 114 (7)
1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
Luke 24:13-49
Color: White/Gold

EASTER MONDAY | March 24, 2008

[ These Propers may be used for a service on Easter Monday
or on another day during the week after Easter Day. ]

Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16:8-11 (9)
Acts 2:14, 22b-32
Matthew 28:9-15a


Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 45 (17) or Psalm 40:5-10 (8)
Hebrews 10:4-10
Luke 1:26-38

1a. CONTEXT: Matthew 28:1-10

As Matthew retells the Marcan story he adds some special material
in which there is an abundance of miraculous phenomena related to the
opening of the tomb. There is an earthquake, an angel descends from
heaven, rolls away the stone, and sits upon it; and frightened soldiers are
rendered harmless. Another block of special material is the account of the
appearance of the risen Christ to two women named, Mary.

A critical comparison of the Matthean narration with others shows
the existence of some tensions over such matters as the identity of the
first witnesses, the mood of the women, and whether the resurrection
appearances took place in Galilee, Judea, or both. These tensions over
details may indeed be less a credibility problem than an indication of the
lack of collusion on the part of the editors and eye witnesses.

As Matthew brings us to the tomb on the morning of the first day of
the week and shows us that it is empty, and lets us hear the angel's
announcement, "He is not here for he has risen AS HE SAID," we can recall
earlier sayings in 12:40, 17:23, 20:19, and 26:32. And as we hear the
urgency of the angel's instructions (and subsequently Jesus' instructions)
to tell the disciples to meet him (when he further commissions them to go
into all the world...), we see our text as one strong link in a long chain of
messages from God to the readers of Matthew's Gospel. And if it is so that
Matthew is indeed writing in the later days of the first century, then his
readers had already heard the story many times before; and that fact
makes his text speak even more appropriately for our audience today.

1b. TEXT: Matthew 28:1-10

28:1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he [1] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”


[1] 28:6 Some manuscripts the Lord


1οψε δε σαββατων, τη επιφωσκουση εις μιαν σαββατων, ηλθεν μαριαμ η μαγδαληνη και η αλλη μαρια θεωρησαι τον ταφον. 2και ιδου σεισμος εγενετο μεγας: αγγελος γαρ κυριου καταβας εξ ουρανου και προσελθων απεκυλισεν τον λιθον και εκαθητο επανω αυτου. 3ην δε η ειδεα αυτου ως αστραπη και το ενδυμα αυτου λευκον ως χιων. 4απο δε του φοβου αυτου εσεισθησαν οι τηρουντες και εγενηθησαν ως νεκροι. 5αποκριθεις δε ο αγγελος ειπεν ταις γυναιξιν, μη φοβεισθε υμεις, οιδα γαρ οτι ιησουν τον εσταυρωμενον ζητειτε: 6ουκ εστιν ωδε, ηγερθη γαρ καθως ειπεν: δευτε ιδετε τον τοπον οπου εκειτο. 7και ταχυ πορευθεισαι ειπατε τοις μαθηταις αυτου οτι ηγερθη απο των νεκρων, και ιδου προαγει υμας εις την γαλιλαιαν, εκει αυτον οψεσθε: ιδου ειπον υμιν. 8και απελθουσαι ταχυ απο του μνημειου μετα φοβου και χαρας μεγαλης εδραμον απαγγειλαι τοις μαθηταις αυτου. 9και ιδου ιησους υπηντησεν αυταις λεγων, χαιρετε. αι δε προσελθουσαι εκρατησαν αυτου τους ποδας και προσεκυνησαν αυτω. 10τοτε λεγει αυταις ο ιησους, μη φοβεισθε: υπαγετε απαγγειλατε τοις αδελφοις μου ινα απελθωσιν εις την γαλιλαιαν, κακει με οψονται. Online Text Copyright Info

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: Matthew 28:1-10

Matthew 28:1 - "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary" - Here is a link to the
previous scene of 27:56,61. - τηεορεσαι τον ταπηον - Matthew has these
women in much more of a spectator role than does Mark as he shows them
coming to annoint the body.

28:2 - σεισμοσ εγενετο μεγασ - Matthew introduces the reader to seismic
phenomena; again the ground shakes from a great earthquake! In many
ancient writings divine interventions were often shown to be accompanied
by earthquakes:

God appears at Sinai (Ex. 19:18) and at Horeb (I Kings 19:1f.) with
accompanying earthquakes, and there are numerous other such references,
not the least of which are Isa. 29:5-9 and Jer. 4:19-31. In many prophetic
passages the last judgment is portrayed as a "great earthquake" (Ezek.
37:1-14; Zech. 14:1-8; Matt. 24; Rev.11). Of course the most recent
happened on Friday (mt. 27:51). - ⎛ανγελοσ γαρ κψριου καταβαs - It would
seem that his role is that of proclaimer and revealer, therefore his rolling
of the stone from the tomb is to display its emptiness and not to free
Jesus from its seal. It is interesting to note that he is described as
seated on the stone.

28:3 - ∍αστραπει...ενδυμα... λευκον...ηοσ χηιον - In a similar manner to the
earthquake reference, Matthew here uses the language of theophany and of
divine interruption. See descriptions of the transfigured Jesus in Mt. 17:2
and the angel of Rev. 10:1.

28:4 - οι τερουντεσ...ηοσ νεκροι - This is unsoldierly conduct, but given the
circumstances, not surprising.

28:5 - Με πηοβειστηε ηυμειs - Here is a common angelic message; recall
the words of an angel in Matt. 1, and Luke 1 and 2.

28:6 - κατηοσ ειπεν - Recall his earlier statements about the sign of
Jonah, and about the "Son of Man going up to Jerusalem raised on
the third day."

28:7 - ταχυ- introduces the beginning of a sense of motion in this text;
from now on things happen quickly and with movement. Note that Matthew
omits the reference to telling Peter and merely says, "tell his disciples."

28:8 - μετα πηοβου και χηαρασ μεγαλεs - Differing from Mark's reference
to fear, Matthew includes no "trembling" but couples the fear with "great
joy." This same expression is used by Luke (24:52) to describe the mood of
the disciples returning to Jerusalem with the promise of "power from on

28:9 - χηαιρετε , a formula of greeting much like our own, "good morning."

εκρατησαν uses words which originally referred to the body language of
adoration of a deity; Matthew tends to use (προσκυνεο) to declare an inner
attitude (as he did earlier with the posture of the Magi in 2:11).

28:10 - τοισ αδελπηοισ μουυ - This would seem to be a term of affection.
κακει με ∍οπσονται - This points to an important meeting, a
post-resurrection appearance where he meets "his brethren" with the
great commission, and the promise, "behold, I am with you..."

3. STRATEGY: Matthew 28:1-10

The first step in developing a strategy is that of analyzing one's
audience. Assuming that this text is preached on Easter Morning, there are several
things one can take for granted: the congregation is larger than usual; the
preacher is tired from the busy, previous week (or last night’s VIGIL); the congregation consists of a combination of regular and annual attenders; both kinds need to hear
the Gospel; and finally, the resurrection is central. With the resurrection
as central, we now consider several homiletical directions one might go
with this text.

The earthquake and the language of theophany are significant for
our preaching. As Paul Minear has remarked, "Nothing is more threatening
to established securities, more symptomatic of revolutionary change,
more conducive to panic, than an earthquake." (INTERPRETATION, January
1984, p. 60). If the preacher, and his congregation, have been accustomed
to hearing and telling this story over and over again (as we suspect was so
with Matthew's first readers) then one may wish to confront such
questions as "When for us does the ground shake?" and "When do angelic
messages send us running 'in the mist of fear and great joy'?"

Another direction is that of the running and telling. It is
noteworthy that Jesus' words are a repetition of those of the angel; these
must be important words! Added to these words, he says, "there they will
see me"--not to prove the fact of the resurrection, but to be met by him,
sent by him to be proclaimers to the world, to proclaim what the angel
announced to the women: "He is risen."

It is said that there have been times in the church's history when it
was customary for an Easter sermon to begin with the telling of a joke,
that this was even so in the earliest days of Lutheran Orthodoxy. One then wonders
if Matthew's telling of the Easter story might not have set the course for
such a style; for here we have here such components of humor as the element of
surprise, a changed ending to a story, and a discovery of the unexpected.
And so Matthew is carefulto mention an angel uses the stone as a seat (he
even speaks ex cathedra); and soldiers who are sent to guard a corpse end
up "as dead men."

The earthquake itself has a way of doing something to all that would, in
vanity, claim permanence for itself, even a tomb ( and all it signifies).
The Greek word for earthquake and for trembling (of guards) is from the
same root; likewise Jesus' greeting and the word for joy (of the women) is
similarly derived--there is room for a few puns also. What a fine
opportunity for the preacher to try his wings at a few one-liners...say,
have you heard the one about the tomb?

Briefly, some other emphases for sermon direction may be found in
the following: (a) the contrast of the trembling of the guards and the
lively fear and great joy of the women, (b) the change from "his disciples"
to "my brethren," (c) and finally, the reference to "Jesus, who was
crucified...he is risen as he said." Here is an opportunity to emphasize that
the cross is more than tragic but that it has a power to heal and enliven
which comes from God's having vindicated that way of suffering in the
triumph of Easter.

4. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: Matthew 28:1-10

There is a superabundance of hymns available for this festival, but
two are here suggested because they are not usually listed under the
category of Easter Hymn. "At the Lamb's High Feast" (LBW #210,HB 174)
contains great references to the Sacrament and to Easter, and being set to
a catchy old German folk tune, it is a pleasure to sing. "Jesus Christ My
Sure Defense" (LBW 340) catches the spirit of this text; it was once
described as a "masterpiece of Christian poetry" and was part of a
publication intended to bring unity between Lutheran and Reformed
communions. And, of course, "Hail Thee, Festival Day" ( LBW 142, HB 175)
and "Jesus Christ is ris'n today" (LBW 151, HB 207) are standard at Easter.

Exegete: Rev. John Nieman is Pastor of Christ Lutheran, West Boylston, MA.




Dartmouth,MA 02747


Good (Long) Friday

Lexegete™ | Year A | Matthew


March 21, 2008

Isaiah 52:13 53:12
Psalm 22 (1)
Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1--19:42

1a. CONTEXT: John 18:1-19:42

Most current lectionaries agree upon John's Gospel as the proper
announcement of this day in the church's life. It was not always so.
I have vivid recollections from youth of bittersweet, emotional Good
Friday night services in which the central figure was not the dying Christ
but the up and coming tenor singing someone's variation on the "Seven
Last Words." Good music is fine for the soul and, frankly, I can think of
nothing I would rather do on a Friday night than listen as von Karajan and
Bach interpret the Matthaeus-Passion, particularly the poignant, touching
Aria "Mache dich, mein Herze,rein." But we are pulled in a very different
direction by the Passion according to St. John.

The Passion vis-a-vis John is first of all a VICTORY, given and done for
the "glorification" of the Son and only child of God. Secondly, it is not a
pyrrhic or tragic or dramaturgical victory, but a FINAL victory in the sense that the power and DYNAMIS of God in Christ is so awesomely in control.

John's Passion is not the stuff of cantatas, pageants and Oberammergau.
It is rather more like a decisive cosmic victory in which Christ is the
lonely victim made ruling victor: "The world will make you suffer.

But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world!" (Jn. 16:33b). This
victory is cosmic not in the way that Matthew's gospel is, with its
catacylsms and earthquakes, but cosmic in that it symbolizes the Ultimate Showdown between God and Evil. A Soteriological High Noon.

For John, there is one very crucial supporting actor in this play and it
turns out be who? Judas? No. For John, the penultimate showdown is
between Jesus and Pilate, royal governor. In fact, the bulk of this gospel
is focussed on this "summit meeting" between two kingdoms. The fact
that we know how the "Talks" will go and who will emerge on top cannot
take anything from this compelling scene of confrontation. Jesus in here
not a pathetic figure of non-violent martyrdom, but rather a strong and
commanding presence. However we see fit to observe this day, may that
same victorious presence be among us and around us all!

1b. TEXT: John 18:1-19:42 (ESV)

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” [1] Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus [2] said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant [3] and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Jesus Faces Annas and Caiaphas
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
Peter Denies Jesus
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants [4] and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
The High Priest Questions Jesus
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Peter Denies Jesus Again
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
Jesus Before Pilate
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. [5] It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
My Kingdom Is Not of This World
33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. [6]

[1] 18:5 Greek I am; also verses 6, 8 
[2] 18:6 Greek he 
[3] 18:10 Greek bondservant; twice in this verse 
[4] 18:18 Greek bondservants; also verse 26 
[5] 18:28 Greek the praetorium 
[6] 18:40 Or an insurrectionist

Jesus Delivered to Be Crucified
19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic [1] Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. [2] He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
The Crucifixion
So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. [3] But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, 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 to his own home.
The Death of Jesus
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus' Side Is Pierced
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
Jesus Is Buried
38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus [4] by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds [5] in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.


[1] 19:13 Or Hebrew; also verses 17, 20 
[2] 19:14 That is, about noon 
[3] 19:23 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin 
[4] 19:39 Greek him 
[5] 19:39 Greek one hundred litras; a litra (or Roman pound) was equal to about 11 1/2 ounces or 327 grams


1ταυτα ειπων ιησους εξηλθεν συν τοις μαθηταις αυτου περαν του χειμαρρου του κεδρων οπου ην κηπος, εις ον εισηλθεν αυτος και οι μαθηται αυτου. 2ηδει δε και ιουδας ο παραδιδους αυτον τον τοπον, οτι πολλακις συνηχθη ιησους εκει μετα των μαθητων αυτου. 3ο ουν ιουδας λαβων την σπειραν και εκ των αρχιερεων και εκ των φαρισαιων υπηρετας ερχεται εκει μετα φανων και λαμπαδων και οπλων. 4ιησους ουν ειδως παντα τα ερχομενα επ αυτον εξηλθεν και λεγει αυτοις, τινα ζητειτε; 5απεκριθησαν αυτω, ιησουν τον ναζωραιον. λεγει αυτοις, εγω ειμι. ειστηκει δε και ιουδας ο παραδιδους αυτον μετ αυτων. 6ως ουν ειπεν αυτοις, εγω ειμι, απηλθον εις τα οπισω και επεσαν χαμαι. 7παλιν ουν επηρωτησεν αυτους, τινα ζητειτε; οι δε ειπαν, ιησουν τον ναζωραιον. 8απεκριθη ιησους, ειπον υμιν οτι εγω ειμι: ει ουν εμε ζητειτε, αφετε τουτους υπαγειν: 9ινα πληρωθη ο λογος ον ειπεν οτι ους δεδωκας μοι ουκ απωλεσα εξ αυτων ουδενα. 10σιμων ουν πετρος εχων μαχαιραν ειλκυσεν αυτην και επαισεν τον του αρχιερεως δουλον και απεκοψεν αυτου το ωταριον το δεξιον. ην δε ονομα τω δουλω μαλχος. 11ειπεν ουν ο ιησους τω πετρω, βαλε την μαχαιραν εις την θηκην: το ποτηριον ο δεδωκεν μοι ο πατηρ ου μη πιω αυτο; 12η ουν σπειρα και ο χιλιαρχος και οι υπηρεται των ιουδαιων συνελαβον τον ιησουν και εδησαν αυτον 13και ηγαγον προς ανναν πρωτον: ην γαρ πενθερος του καιαφα, ος ην αρχιερευς του ενιαυτου εκεινου: 14ην δε καιαφας ο συμβουλευσας τοις ιουδαιοις οτι συμφερει ενα ανθρωπον αποθανειν υπερ του λαου. 15ηκολουθει δε τω ιησου σιμων πετρος και αλλος μαθητης. ο δε μαθητης εκεινος ην γνωστος τω αρχιερει, και συνεισηλθεν τω ιησου εις την αυλην του αρχιερεως, 16ο δε πετρος ειστηκει προς τη θυρα εξω. εξηλθεν ουν ο μαθητης ο αλλος ο γνωστος του αρχιερεως και ειπεν τη θυρωρω και εισηγαγεν τον πετρον. 17λεγει ουν τω πετρω η παιδισκη η θυρωρος, μη και συ εκ των μαθητων ει του ανθρωπου τουτου; λεγει εκεινος, ουκ ειμι. 18ειστηκεισαν δε οι δουλοι και οι υπηρεται ανθρακιαν πεποιηκοτες, οτι ψυχος ην, και εθερμαινοντο: ην δε και ο πετρος μετ αυτων εστως και θερμαινομενος. 19ο ουν αρχιερευς ηρωτησεν τον ιησουν περι των μαθητων αυτου και περι της διδαχης αυτου. 20απεκριθη αυτω ιησους, εγω παρρησια λελαληκα τω κοσμω: εγω παντοτε εδιδαξα εν συναγωγη και εν τω ιερω, οπου παντες οι ιουδαιοι συνερχονται, και εν κρυπτω ελαλησα ουδεν. 21τι με ερωτας; ερωτησον τους ακηκοοτας τι ελαλησα αυτοις: ιδε ουτοι οιδασιν α ειπον εγω. 22ταυτα δε αυτου ειποντος εις παρεστηκως των υπηρετων εδωκεν ραπισμα τω ιησου ειπων, ουτως αποκρινη τω αρχιερει; 23απεκριθη αυτω ιησους, ει κακως ελαλησα, μαρτυρησον περι του κακου: ει δε καλως, τι με δερεις; 24απεστειλεν ουν αυτον ο αννας δεδεμενον προς καιαφαν τον αρχιερεα. 25ην δε σιμων πετρος εστως και θερμαινομενος. ειπον ουν αυτω, μη και συ εκ των μαθητων αυτου ει; ηρνησατο εκεινος και ειπεν, ουκ ειμι. 26λεγει εις εκ των δουλων του αρχιερεως, συγγενης ων ου απεκοψεν πετρος το ωτιον, ουκ εγω σε ειδον εν τω κηπω μετ αυτου; 27παλιν ουν ηρνησατο πετρος: και ευθεως αλεκτωρ εφωνησεν. 28αγουσιν ουν τον ιησουν απο του καιαφα εις το πραιτωριον: ην δε πρωι: και αυτοι ουκ εισηλθον εις το πραιτωριον, ινα μη μιανθωσιν αλλα φαγωσιν το πασχα. 29εξηλθεν ουν ο πιλατος εξω προς αυτους και φησιν, τινα κατηγοριαν φερετε [κατα] του ανθρωπου τουτου; 30απεκριθησαν και ειπαν αυτω, ει μη ην ουτος κακον ποιων, ουκ αν σοι παρεδωκαμεν αυτον. 31ειπεν ουν αυτοις ο πιλατος, λαβετε αυτον υμεις, και κατα τον νομον υμων κρινατε αυτον. ειπον αυτω οι ιουδαιοι, ημιν ουκ εξεστιν αποκτειναι ουδενα: 32ινα ο λογος του ιησου πληρωθη ον ειπεν σημαινων ποιω θανατω ημελλεν αποθνησκειν. 33εισηλθεν ουν παλιν εις το πραιτωριον ο πιλατος και εφωνησεν τον ιησουν και ειπεν αυτω, συ ει ο βασιλευς των ιουδαιων; 34απεκριθη ιησους, απο σεαυτου συ τουτο λεγεις η αλλοι ειπον σοι περι εμου; 35απεκριθη ο πιλατος, μητι εγω ιουδαιος ειμι; το εθνος το σον και οι αρχιερεις παρεδωκαν σε εμοι: τι εποιησας; 36απεκριθη ιησους, η βασιλεια η εμη ουκ εστιν εκ του κοσμου τουτου: ει εκ του κοσμου τουτου ην η βασιλεια η εμη, οι υπηρεται οι εμοι ηγωνιζοντο [αν], ινα μη παραδοθω τοις ιουδαιοις: νυν δε η βασιλεια η εμη ουκ εστιν εντευθεν. 37ειπεν ουν αυτω ο πιλατος, ουκουν βασιλευς ει συ; απεκριθη ο ιησους, συ λεγεις οτι βασιλευς ειμι. εγω εις τουτο γεγεννημαι και εις τουτο εληλυθα εις τον κοσμον, ινα μαρτυρησω τη αληθεια: πας ο ων εκ της αληθειας ακουει μου της φωνης. 38λεγει αυτω ο πιλατος, τι εστιν αληθεια; και τουτο ειπων παλιν εξηλθεν προς τους ιουδαιους, και λεγει αυτοις, εγω ουδεμιαν ευρισκω εν αυτω αιτιαν. 39εστιν δε συνηθεια υμιν ινα ενα απολυσω υμιν εν τω πασχα: βουλεσθε ουν απολυσω υμιν τον βασιλεα των ιουδαιων; 40εκραυγασαν ουν παλιν λεγοντες, μη τουτον αλλα τον βαραββαν. ην δε ο βαραββας ληστης.
1τοτε ουν ελαβεν ο πιλατος τον ιησουν και εμαστιγωσεν. 2και οι στρατιωται πλεξαντες στεφανον εξ ακανθων επεθηκαν αυτου τη κεφαλη, και ιματιον πορφυρουν περιεβαλον αυτον, 3και ηρχοντο προς αυτον και ελεγον, χαιρε, ο βασιλευς των ιουδαιων: και εδιδοσαν αυτω ραπισματα. 4και εξηλθεν παλιν εξω ο πιλατος και λεγει αυτοις, ιδε αγω υμιν αυτον εξω, ινα γνωτε οτι ουδεμιαν αιτιαν ευρισκω εν αυτω. 5εξηλθεν ουν ο ιησους εξω, φορων τον ακανθινον στεφανον και το πορφυρουν ιματιον. και λεγει αυτοις, ιδου ο ανθρωπος. 6οτε ουν ειδον αυτον οι αρχιερεις και οι υπηρεται εκραυγασαν λεγοντες, σταυρωσον σταυρωσον. λεγει αυτοις ο πιλατος, λαβετε αυτον υμεις και σταυρωσατε, εγω γαρ ουχ ευρισκω εν αυτω αιτιαν. 7απεκριθησαν αυτω οι ιουδαιοι, ημεις νομον εχομεν, και κατα τον νομον οφειλει αποθανειν, οτι υιον θεου εαυτον εποιησεν. 8οτε ουν ηκουσεν ο πιλατος τουτον τον λογον, μαλλον εφοβηθη, 9και εισηλθεν εις το πραιτωριον παλιν και λεγει τω ιησου, ποθεν ει συ; ο δε ιησους αποκρισιν ουκ εδωκεν αυτω. 10λεγει ουν αυτω ο πιλατος, εμοι ου λαλεις; ουκ οιδας οτι εξουσιαν εχω απολυσαι σε και εξουσιαν εχω σταυρωσαι σε; 11απεκριθη [αυτω] ιησους, ουκ ειχες εξουσιαν κατ εμου ουδεμιαν ει μη ην δεδομενον σοι ανωθεν: δια τουτο ο παραδους με σοι μειζονα αμαρτιαν εχει. 12εκ τουτου ο πιλατος εζητει απολυσαι αυτον: οι δε ιουδαιοι εκραυγασαν λεγοντες, εαν τουτον απολυσης, ουκ ει φιλος του καισαρος: πας ο βασιλεα εαυτον ποιων αντιλεγει τω καισαρι. 13ο ουν πιλατος ακουσας των λογων τουτων ηγαγεν εξω τον ιησουν, και εκαθισεν επι βηματος εις τοπον λεγομενον λιθοστρωτον, εβραιστι δε γαββαθα. 14ην δε παρασκευη του πασχα, ωρα ην ως εκτη. και λεγει τοις ιουδαιοις, ιδε ο βασιλευς υμων. 15εκραυγασαν ουν εκεινοι, αρον αρον, σταυρωσον αυτον. λεγει αυτοις ο πιλατος, τον βασιλεα υμων σταυρωσω; απεκριθησαν οι αρχιερεις, ουκ εχομεν βασιλεα ει μη καισαρα. 16τοτε ουν παρεδωκεν αυτον αυτοις ινα σταυρωθη. παρελαβον ουν τον ιησουν: 17και βασταζων εαυτω τον σταυρον εξηλθεν εις τον λεγομενον κρανιου τοπον, ο λεγεται εβραιστι γολγοθα, 18οπου αυτον εσταυρωσαν, και μετ αυτου αλλους δυο εντευθεν και εντευθεν, μεσον δε τον ιησουν. 19εγραψεν δε και τιτλον ο πιλατος και εθηκεν επι του σταυρου: ην δε γεγραμμενον, ιησους ο ναζωραιος ο βασιλευς των ιουδαιων. 20τουτον ουν τον τιτλον πολλοι ανεγνωσαν των ιουδαιων, οτι εγγυς ην ο τοπος της πολεως οπου εσταυρωθη ο ιησους: και ην γεγραμμενον εβραιστι, ρωμαιστι, ελληνιστι. 21ελεγον ουν τω πιλατω οι αρχιερεις των ιουδαιων, μη γραφε, ο βασιλευς των ιουδαιων, αλλ οτι εκεινος ειπεν, βασιλευς ειμι των ιουδαιων. 22απεκριθη ο πιλατος, ο γεγραφα, γεγραφα. 23οι ουν στρατιωται οτε εσταυρωσαν τον ιησουν ελαβον τα ιματια αυτου και εποιησαν τεσσαρα μερη, εκαστω στρατιωτη μερος, και τον χιτωνα. ην δε ο χιτων αραφος, εκ των ανωθεν υφαντος δι ολου. 24ειπαν ουν προς αλληλους, μη σχισωμεν αυτον, αλλα λαχωμεν περι αυτου τινος εσται: ινα η γραφη πληρωθη [η λεγουσα], διεμερισαντο τα ιματια μου εαυτοις και επι τον ιματισμον μου εβαλον κληρον. οι μεν ουν στρατιωται ταυτα εποιησαν. 25ειστηκεισαν δε παρα τω σταυρω του ιησου η μητηρ αυτου και η αδελφη της μητρος αυτου, μαρια η του κλωπα και μαρια η μαγδαληνη. 26ιησους ουν ιδων την μητερα και τον μαθητην παρεστωτα ον ηγαπα, λεγει τη μητρι, γυναι, ιδε ο υιος σου. 27ειτα λεγει τω μαθητη, ιδε η μητηρ σου. και απ εκεινης της ωρας ελαβεν ο μαθητης αυτην εις τα ιδια. 28μετα τουτο ειδως ο ιησους οτι ηδη παντα τετελεσται, ινα τελειωθη η γραφη, λεγει, διψω. 29σκευος εκειτο οξους μεστον: σπογγον ουν μεστον του οξους υσσωπω περιθεντες προσηνεγκαν αυτου τω στοματι. 30οτε ουν ελαβεν το οξος [ο] ιησους ειπεν, τετελεσται: και κλινας την κεφαλην παρεδωκεν το πνευμα. 31οι ουν ιουδαιοι, επει παρασκευη ην, ινα μη μεινη επι του σταυρου τα σωματα εν τω σαββατω, ην γαρ μεγαλη η ημερα εκεινου του σαββατου, ηρωτησαν τον πιλατον ινα κατεαγωσιν αυτων τα σκελη και αρθωσιν. 32ηλθον ουν οι στρατιωται, και του μεν πρωτου κατεαξαν τα σκελη και του αλλου του συσταυρωθεντος αυτω: 33επι δε τον ιησουν ελθοντες, ως ειδον ηδη αυτον τεθνηκοτα, ου κατεαξαν αυτου τα σκελη, 34αλλ εις των στρατιωτων λογχη αυτου την πλευραν ενυξεν, και εξηλθεν ευθυς αιμα και υδωρ. 35και ο εωρακως μεμαρτυρηκεν, και αληθινη αυτου εστιν η μαρτυρια, και εκεινος οιδεν οτι αληθη λεγει, ινα και υμεις πιστευ[ς]ητε. 36εγενετο γαρ ταυτα ινα η γραφη πληρωθη, οστουν ου συντριβησεται αυτου. 37και παλιν ετερα γραφη λεγει, οψονται εις ον εξεκεντησαν. 38μετα δε ταυτα ηρωτησεν τον πιλατον ιωσηφ [ο] απο αριμαθαιας, ων μαθητης του ιησου κεκρυμμενος δε δια τον φοβον των ιουδαιων, ινα αρη το σωμα του ιησου: και επετρεψεν ο πιλατος. ηλθεν ουν και ηρεν το σωμα αυτου. 39ηλθεν δε και νικοδημος, ο ελθων προς αυτον νυκτος το πρωτον, φερων μιγμα σμυρνης και αλοης ως λιτρας εκατον. 40ελαβον ουν το σωμα του ιησου και εδησαν αυτο οθονιοις μετα των αρωματων, καθως εθος εστιν τοις ιουδαιοις ενταφιαζειν. 41ην δε εν τω τοπω οπου εσταυρωθη κηπος, και εν τω κηπω μνημειον καινον εν ω ουδεπω ουδεις ην τεθειμενος: 42εκει ουν δια την παρασκευην των ιουδαιων, οτι εγγυς ην το μνημειον, εθηκαν τον ιησουν. Online Text Copyright Info

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: JOHN 18:1-19:42

John 18:3 - 'Ioudas labon ten speiran kai ek ton archiereon kai ek ton
pharisaion huperetas erchetai - "So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and
some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees..." (AILL) - The
scene has an unlikely quality. How could Judas "procure" a whole garrison
(perhaps 700 soldiers) armed with weapons, lanterns and torches? The
situation seems to presume that Jesus would not possibly attempt to
escape, for there is no element of surprise in such a capture. We leave
open the question of whether this capture was part of a much larger
counter-insurgency program sponsored by the Roman authorities. Judas
does little more than point the way to Jesus, and the Romans are
portrayed as the dominant opposing force.

18:4 - 'Iesous oun eidos panta - "Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him" (AILL) - The control which Jesus has over this entire situation
coincides with his foreknowledge of what is coming.

18:5-8 - Ego eimi....Ego eimi....ego eimi - The importance of this Johannine
code-phrase is underscored by the almost silly repetition, which sounds
like another example of the well-known "misverstaendnis" motif in John.
But the irony here is its astonishing effect: the very phrase "I AM" seems
to strike the soldiers down, almost as if they were steeped in Jewish
tradition (Exodus 3:1-15).

18:9 - (cf. John 6:39,10:28, 17:12) - "to fulfill the word which Jesus has
spoken" (AILL) - This fulfillment reinforces the omniscience of Jesus
cited in 18:4, and portrays him as the Good Shepherd even in betrayal.

18:11 - Jesus remains in control of the situation, almost as if he were
giving military orders.

18:12-27 - This section reads like a small interlude which makes several
points: 1) the role of Annas and Caiaphas the High Priest in the accusations against Jesus, and 2) the Denial of Peter. There is little indication of any formal trial process before the Sanhedrin, indeed the details within this section tend to be sketchy at best. (For a very thoughtful examination of the implications of this section, see E. Haenchen, JOHN,vol. 2, pp. 169-74.)

18:29 - Tina kategorian pherete kata tou 'anthropoy toutou? - "What
accusation do you bring against this person?" (AILL) - This question can be
taken at face value; Pilate evidently is unaware of the specifics of the
case and is not engaged in conspiracy as such. Indeed, he would sooner be
rid of this inconvenient situation (18:31).

18:31 - It seems odd that Pilate would have to be reminded of the legal
rights of the Jews regarding execution, but the real purpose of this
passage is not so much to relate fact as to suggest that as an intention.

18:33 - basileus ton Ioudaion - "Ruler of the Jews" (AILL) -This phrase
becomes the key term in the ensuing passage, for it is this question which
Pilate wants answered once and for all. The entire confrontation between
the earthly ruler and the Christ (whose rule is not of this world) turns on
this phrase as the fulcrum of the Passion narrative, in John's eyes.

18:38 - Pilate's question about aletheia is not so much profound as it is
anticlimactic after seeing that Jesus' kingdom is not of this world.
Thus he sees Jesus as no direct threat to his regime.

18:39 - Whether such a law actually existed is unclear. As in 18:31, the
point seems to be to establish the intention of the Jewish leadership to
execute Jesus. The historicity of this motive strikes me as questionable,
if only because the situation seems more complex than conveyed here.

19:4 - It is strange that Pilate should find no reason to condemn Jesus and
yet have him punished. At best, perhaps Pilate is staging a kind of
mock-execution which may enable him to avoid the real thing.

19:7 - Finally the "bottom line" is reached in the struggle with Pilate.
Jesus is guilty because he has committed blasphemy: claiming to be the
huion theou (cf. Lev. 24:16). This has the effect of making Pilate fearful,
perhaps because he has glimpsed the awesome scope of his own dilemma
with Jesus. Note the silence of Jesus in verse 9 (and elsewhere, e.g.,

19:12 - philos tou kaisaros - By this point, Pilate is enmeshed in his own
actual or potential guilt, paralyzed by fear of the consequences of making
a wrong decision. But any fear of God's wrath is far outweighed by his
fear of the Emperor and losing his official title as a "friend of Caesar."

19:13 - Jesus is brought out to the Judgment Seat. Haenchen (op.cit., p.
183) conjectures that Jesus is actually placed on the seat of judgment.

19:18-Nothing is said about the others crucified with Jesus. In fact, the
overall crucifixion is bereft of detail, except that Jesus rules victoriously
even from the cross.

19:21 - Basileus eimi ton Ioudaion - 'I am Ruler of the Jews' - In an ironic
twist, the ego eimi phrasing becomes at this stage absorbed into the
mockery of King Jesus.

19:22-42 - Without rehearsing the entire Crucifixion, several items can
be noted briefly. First, John has only "Three Last Words" - the words to
his mother and the beloved disciple (19:26-7), "I thirst" (19:28b), and
"Tetelestai" (It is finished, 19:30). Second, there is a pattern of formula
quotations (vss. 24,28-9,30-31,36-7) based on the Psalms and other parts
of the Old Testament. Finally, elements of the death of Jesus imply
sacramental imagery (e.g., the blood and water in 19:34 representing
baptism and eucharist), reflecting the post-Easter orientation of the
entire narrative (e.g., 19:7).

3. STRATEGY: JOHN 18:1-19:42

Traditions about this Day seem to vary from one place to another and
one parish to another. Some churches gather from Noon to 3 p.m. in a
community of prayer, with eight or ten clergy taking turns at preaching
the Gospel in short homilies interspersed with readings and hymnsinging.

Some have abandoned this tradition which, at its best, was a profound
moment of devotion in the midst of a world of practicality that sidesteps
the death of the world's savior. Some have never attempted it at all, while still others have taken to the streets and made the Roman Catholic
tradition of the Stations of the Cross into a highly mobile affair. Many
communities emphasize worship for Good Friday as a more somber evening service or Office of Tenebrae. For some this is too dramatic and forced, for others too stark and simple.

Even the question of whether or how to preach on such an occasion is to
many clergy an open question. Surely it is not a moment for heavy-handed
rhetoric and pulpit-pounding. And yet there needs to be some aspect of
thoughtful reflection/proclamation in the midst of the commemoration of
Our Lord's Death. The ambivalence about this day stems from this very
dilemma: how to observe the moment without turning it into a lugubrious
funeral, and yet with reverent remembrance. The world turns its back on
this day because it cannot comprehend, whether by day or by darkness, the
implications for life. Yet if Good Friday is fully and truly celebrated as a
time to contemplate the wonders of God's Love in the victory on the Cross,
then we shall all understand what it means for us. It was not a Christian
dogmatist, but a French-Jewish philosopher who wrote that:

"There is not, there cannot be, any human activity in whatever sphere, of
which Christ's Cross is not the supreme and secret truth. No activity can
be separated from it without rotting or shrivelling like a cut vine-shoot.
That it what is happening today, before our uncomprehending eyes, while
we ask ourselves what is wrong. And Christians comprehend least of all
because, knowing that the roots or our activities go back long before
Christ, they cannot understand that the Christian faith is the sap in them."

(Simone Weil, "L'Amour de Dieu et le malheur," p. 465 in THE SIMONE WEIL

The most fundamental celebration of this day is to resist the temptation
to dramatize or even glamorize the Passion. This is why the Office of
Tenebrae has taken hold in so many parishes as the main event of Good
Friday. Gone are the days when schools, banks, libraries, Post Offices,
factories, stores, businesses and the like would shut down for the day or
at least from noon to three p.m., European style. Today the great mass of
humanity will be engaged in their mundane occupations. But this evening
it will be possible for them to come away for awhile, to gather and sit in
shadows and darkness and quietly contemplate "the wonder of his glorious
love...and my unworthiness." Keep it simple.

Tenebrae can be traced back at least as far as the XIIth cent. when it was
used for matins and lauds of the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy
Week, in the form of a vigil before the next day (the Tenebrae of Maundy
Thursday was sung on Wednesday evening). Because the candles were
gradually extinguished and all left in silence, the office came to be known
as Tenebrae, which means "darkness" or "shadows." The Office was
liturgically minimal: no hymns, no Invitatory, versicles or Gloria Patri.

Rather, nine Psalms and nine other readings from Scripture tracing the
Passion from the Last Supper to the burial of Jesus. Interspersed were
responses in a sad, reflective mode. A candle was extinguished after
each psalm until only one was left burning. This one was removed or
hidden until the worshippers were sent away and then replaced on the
candlestick. This served both as a "Christ candle" in anticipation of
Easter, and provided some dim light for the departing congregation.

Without being slavishly liturgical, is it possible to reconstruct a simple
form of this Office for Good Friday. A few things should be noted:
The Nave should be dimly lighted from the outset of the Service, lest the
later dimming be too startling. Any hymns used should be typed in large
print on the bulletin, as to be easily readable (otherwise the singing will
fade with the lighting in the Nave). It is better to utilize one or two
strong Passion hymns (see below) than a medley of favorites. The
candelabra used should be in prominent place near the altar, but the
extinction of the candles should be as unobtrusive as possible. In one
tradition, a loud noise is made during the time when the Christ Candle is
removed. This can very easily distract from the solemnity of the moment,
and is not recommended. Lessons and readings ought to be drawn from the
Psalms, Epistles and Gospel. If there be a homily, let it be brief!


Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986 ("Tenebrae," pp. 503-4.)

Haenchen, E. JOHN 2 (Hermeneia Commentaries), transl. R.W. Funk, ed. by
R.W. Funk and U. Busse. Phila.: Fortress, 1984.

Panichas, G.A. THE SIMONE WEIL READER. NY: David McKay, 1977.

Stendahl, K. HOLY WEEK (SERIES A) - PROCLAMATION. Philadelphia:
Fortress Press, 1974.


Whether or not the Office of Tenebrae is sung, certainly at least one or
more of the following hymns might be considered for Good Friday worship:








Jaroslav Pelikan's JESUS THROUGH THE CENTURIES (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1985, p.b.) is a rich, devotional treasure of Christian lore. At a
time when the mysterious power of icons is being rediscovered by the
Church , Pelikan offered us a succinct but comprehensive survey of
twenty centuries of Christ and Culture. This was and is a most remarkable book!
While not a formal anthology or dictionary of art and literature about
Jesus Christ, it is an exhaustive and exquisitely detailed collection that
covers nearly ever conceivable verbal and visual Incarnation. (If it has one small drawback, it is that the author has chosen to omit for the most part the fields of poetry and hymnody--for obvious reasons. Had they been included, this work of 270 pages might well have run into the thousands.)
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Jesus as "Liberator," touching on
Dostoevsky's GRAND INQUISITOR. For a fuller discussion, see Pelikan's
earlier FOOLS FOR CHRIST. This book is highly recommended!!!

If you do not have a copy, I notice that in Spring ‘07, it appeared [as a HISTORY Book Club Choice] in a few of the good “remainder” catalogs. Of these, one of the best is DAEDALUS in Baltimore:

Exegete: David A. Buehler, Ph.D., Visiting Proffessor of Ethics, Providence College




Dartmouth,MA 02747


Maundy Thursday

Lexegete™ | Year A | Matthew


March 20, 2008

Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 (13)
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
John 13:1-17, 31b-35

1a. CONTEXT - John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

This selection is one of two possible Gospel passages for Maundy Thursday, the other being Luke 22:14-30. Luke's emphasis is on the Last Supper as a rite of the community. In John, on the other hand, the emphasis is on footwashing as an expression of Jesus' nature as servant and as an example of discipleship. Liturgical practice traditionally has identified Maundy Thursday with the institution of the Eucharist and, in recent years, there has been renewed interest in footwashing as an act of powerful symbolism in that situation. The rite also has medieval precedent and frequently accompanied stripping and washing of the altar. Originally a hospitable amenity in ancient Palestine, footwashing was offered to guests upon arrival at a host's home. It was usually performed by a servant or by the wife of the host, while guests reclined at table. Luke 7:44 offers an example in another context.

In John 13 the illustration of footwashing suggests two kinds of themes. One is servant ministry; the other is liturgical. Much of the Christian tradition views Jesus' action as a dramatization of servanthood. Jesus' humility illustrates the kind of life discipleship requires. The Christian must serve without consideration those who come to him in need. This thought is strengthened by Jesus' pointed reference in verse 15. Raymond Brown understands verses 12-20 as a unit which stresses footwashing as a moral example. The fourth gospel emphasizes that
Christ's act is a metaphor for the Christian life.

However Brown also views verses 2-11 as a unit. The actual account of footwashing presents it as a prophetic symbol of Jesus' death. In this light the event has liturgical significance. It portrays the power of cleansing especially associated with baptism. It has implications for the Eucharist as participation in Christ's servanthood and as a preparation of oneself for ministry. In the context of Maundy Thursday, and the eve of the passion, such events reinforce the sacramental nature of the Christian community. Moreover, John 13 offers a powerful juxtaposition of the sacraments and of servanthood. Ideally the sacraments and the ministry of all believers enhance one another.

1b. TEXT: John 13: 1-15, 31b-35 (ESV)

13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, [1] but is completely clean. And you [2] are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant [3] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 31 [When he had gone out, Jesus said, ] “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


[1] 13:10 Some manuscripts omit except for his feet

[2] 13:10 The Greek words for you in this verse are plural

[3] 13:16 Greek bondservant


1προ δε της εορτης του πασχα ειδως ο ιησους οτι ηλθεν αυτου η ωρα ινα μεταβη εκ του κοσμου τουτου προς τον πατερα, αγαπησας τους ιδιους τους εν τω κοσμω, εις τελος ηγαπησεν αυτους. 2και δειπνου γινομενου, του διαβολου ηδη βεβληκοτος εις την καρδιαν ινα παραδοι αυτον ιουδας σιμωνος ισκαριωτου, 3ειδως οτι παντα εδωκεν αυτω ο πατηρ εις τας χειρας και οτι απο θεου εξηλθεν και προς τον θεον υπαγει, 4εγειρεται εκ του δειπνου και τιθησιν τα ιματια, και λαβων λεντιον διεζωσεν εαυτον. 5ειτα βαλλει υδωρ εις τον νιπτηρα και ηρξατο νιπτειν τους ποδας των μαθητων και εκμασσειν τω λεντιω ω ην διεζωσμενος. 6ερχεται ουν προς σιμωνα πετρον. λεγει αυτω, κυριε, συ μου νιπτεις τους ποδας; 7απεκριθη ιησους και ειπεν αυτω, ο εγω ποιω συ ουκ οιδας αρτι, γνωση δε μετα ταυτα. 8λεγει αυτω πετρος, ου μη νιψης μου τους ποδας εις τον αιωνα. απεκριθη ιησους αυτω, εαν μη νιψω σε, ουκ εχεις μερος μετ εμου. 9λεγει αυτω σιμων πετρος, κυριε, μη τους ποδας μου μονον αλλα και τας χειρας και την κεφαλην. 10λεγει αυτω ο ιησους, ο λελουμενος ουκ εχει χρειαν ει μη τους ποδας νιψασθαι, αλλ εστιν καθαρος ολος: και υμεις καθαροι εστε, αλλ ουχι παντες. 11ηδει γαρ τον παραδιδοντα αυτον: δια τουτο ειπεν οτι ουχι παντες καθαροι εστε. 12οτε ουν ενιψεν τους ποδας αυτων [και] ελαβεν τα ιματια αυτου και ανεπεσεν παλιν, ειπεν αυτοις, γινωσκετε τι πεποιηκα υμιν; 13υμεις φωνειτε με ο διδασκαλος και ο κυριος, και καλως λεγετε, ειμι γαρ. 14ει ουν εγω ενιψα υμων τους ποδας ο κυριος και ο διδασκαλος, και υμεις οφειλετε αλληλων νιπτειν τους ποδας: 15υποδειγμα γαρ εδωκα υμιν ινα καθως εγω εποιησα υμιν και υμεις ποιητε. 16αμην αμην λεγω υμιν, ουκ εστιν δουλος μειζων του κυριου αυτου ουδε αποστολος μειζων του πεμψαντος αυτον. 17ει ταυτα οιδατε, μακαριοι εστε εαν ποιητε αυτα.
... 31 [οτε ουν εξηλθεν λεγει ιησους, ] νυν εδοξασθη ο υιος του ανθρωπου, και ο θεος εδοξασθη εν αυτω: 32[ει ο θεος εδοξασθη εν αυτω] και ο θεος δοξασει αυτον εν αυτω, και ευθυς δοξασει αυτον. 33τεκνια, ετι μικρον μεθ υμων ειμι: ζητησετε με, και καθως ειπον τοις ιουδαιοις οτι οπου εγω υπαγω υμεις ου δυνασθε ελθειν, και υμιν λεγω αρτι. 34εντολην καινην διδωμι υμιν, ινα αγαπατε αλληλους: καθως ηγαπησα υμας ινα και υμεις αγαπατε αλληλους. 35εν τουτω γνωσονται παντες οτι εμοι μαθηται εστε, εαν αγαπην εχητε εν αλληλοις.

2. ANALYSIS: John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

13:1 - Pro de thw 'eorthw toy pæasxa....
The stage is set for Jesus' passion. The Gospel succinctly emphasizes Jesus' awareness of himself and his fate. His death would fulfill his nature as God's Son. Yet because of his willingness to be a servant, he would accept the grim fate he foresaw. Voluntary death is seen in the fourth gospel as the supreme expression of love (15:13). Jesus goes to his death because of the depth of his love. He loved humanity utterly, completely. Thus he died as an expression of servanthood.

13:7 - κψριε, σ⎛ψ μοψ ν⎛ιπτειω τοψω ποδαω απεκρ⎛ιυε ∍Ιησοψω και ειπεν αψτϖ:
Ο εγϖ ποιο σψ οψκ οιδαω ⎛αρτι, γν⎛ϖσει δε μετα ταψτα . . . .
Jesus' reply to Peter's dumbfounded query. As happens on other occasions in the New Testament, Peter's hesitation facilitates a powerful statement of faith. The linkage of now and later has eschatological significance. The reference to knowledge suggests insight, understanding, comprehension. As in John 12:16, Peter, like the other disciples, will only be able to make sense of this episode in the light of subsequent experience. The implication lingers that with understanding will come the demand to continue what Jesus has done, for the sake of the Church and its ministry. Verses 8-10 augur against too literal an interpretation of the rite. Instead, the event overflows with symbolism for the life of the Christian community. It serves as an example of the Church's nature.

13:14 - 'ο κψριοω και ∍ο διδασκαλοω
The titles Teacher and Lord were commonly given to rabbis by their disciples. In verse 14 Jesus reversed the order commonly used by his followers (verse 13). The titles, in this form, suggest Jesus' nature first, his role second. He imputes meaning to the title Lord that would not be imputed by traditional usage. At the same time he would dramatize personally the themes underscored in this passage. Footwashing is an illustration of who Jesus is. It is also an example for all who believe in Him to follow. The form of the statement recalls a type of argument used by rabbis. Here Jesus uses such a structure to reinforce his person-hood as the source of his authority.

3. STRATEGY: John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

The passage resounds with powerful, homiletic imagery. Its proximity to the passion, and resurrection, of Christ heightens its potential. In the context of a Eucharist, and perhaps a footwashing and a stripping of the altar, a profound moment is within reach. The eve of sorrow and death anticipates the dawn of triumph. Maundy Thursday is a moment of birth. It is the synthesis of rite, of Jesus' presence, and servanthood, into the foundations of the Christian community. At a time in history when privatized faith remains an irresistible lure for many, when the possibility of being "born again" frequently diminishes the significance of shared faith, this passage has important implications. Jesus' summons comes to the community of believers. Jesus' person dwells amid the company of his followers; his example directs a new kind of relationship, i.e., that of servanthood.

For liturgically grounded forms of Christianity there is a particular opportunity to interweave the Church's sacramental life with its call to ministry. The Church, as well as individual Christians, is faithful when it offers itself in humble service. Indeed, faith is not an intangible set of feelings or pious intentions. Faith is concrete. It entails participation in community and extension of oneself to serve others.

A minor theme in this passage concerns Peter. Peter often serves as the foil. His doubt reflects our own. His incredulity allows us a ready point of identification with the Gospel. Here he is astounded that Jesus should wash his feet. Exalted leaders don't do such things in Peter's eyes. On the other hand, with Jesus' persistence, Peter seeks personal indulgence. Peter is the modern believer, upon whom Jesus' example initially is lost. Peter inevitably grapples with what he cannot understand, and thus serves as an inducement to belief for those who question.

4. REFERENCES, John 13:!-17, 31b-35

York: Seabury, 1981.
Abingdon, 1962.
Leon-Dufour, Xavier. DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. San Francisco:
Harper & Row, 1980.


"Strengthen for Service, Lord" HB 312 - LBW 218

"This is the Hour of Banquet and of Song" HB 316

"My God, thy Table Now is Spread" HB 321

"O Lord, We Praise You, Bless You and Adore You" LBW 215

"Now the Silence" LBW 205

Exegete: William L. Sachs, Ph.D., author of The Transformation of Anglicanism: From State Church to Global Communion. Cambndge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.


While it may seem odd or even irreverent to contemplate joy and laughter in the midst of this holiest of weeks, it may be something we need. I am thinking here especially of a "pop" book on religious humor by Cal Samra, founder of an organization known as the "Fellowship of Merry Christians." Samra's book is entitled THE JOYFUL CHRIST: The Healing Power of Humor
(San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986). The book is a wonderful anthology of the meaning and message of humor in the church's mission today. Samra relates example after example to support his contention that humor is perhaps the most important missing dimension in the church's life today, a dimension that is needed for unity and wholeness. It is a challenging and exhilarating thesis, beautifully expressed. Moreover, once one has begun to ponder THE JOYFUL CHRIST, Jesus may never be the same! [ ] A recent issue of their Joyful Noiseletter notes:
Many American churches are resurrecting an old Easter custom begun by the Greeks in the early centuries of Christianity-"Holy Humor Sunday" celebrations of Jesus' resurrection on the Sunday after Easter.
For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday, including "Bright Sunday" (the Sunday after Easter), was observed by the faithful as "days of joy and laughter" with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus' resurrection.
Churchgoers and pastors played practical jokes on each other, drenched each other with water, told jokes, sang, and danced.
The custom was rooted in the musings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. "Risus paschalis - the Easter laugh," the early theologians called it.
In 1988 the Fellowship of Merry Christians began encouraging churches and prayer groups to resurrect Bright Sunday celebrations and call it "Holy Humor Sunday," with the theme: "Jesus is the LIFE of the party."
Many churches from different traditions responded enthusiastically. Holy Humor Sunday services are bringing back large crowds to churches on a Sunday when church attendance typically drops dramatically.
If you Google “Holy Humor Sunday” on the Internet, you’ll be amazed at how widespread Holy Humor Sunday celebrations on the Sunday after Easter have become among churches of all traditions. It’s clearly a movement of the Holy Spirit to shore up belief in the resurrection of Jesus.

On a much more serious note is Jacob Jonsson's brilliant monograph, Humour and Irony in the New Testament: Illuminated by Parallels in Talmud and Midrash (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1985). This study was for many years the only serious, scholarly and theological work in its field aside from occasional brief essays and exegetical studies by various scholars. Jonsson's work was first published in Reykjavik in 1965 and exhaustive bibliography and indices on scriptural references containing elements of humor and irony. This new edition completely reprints the original and includes a brief foreword by Krister Stendahl, former Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden. It makes a fine starting point for anyone interested in a serious study of the place of humor in the Scriptures.




Dartmouth,MA 02747


Sunday of The Passion | Palm Sunday

Lexegete™ | Year A | Matthew


PALM SUNDAY | March 16, 2008

Matthew 21:1-11 Procession with Palms
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16 (5)
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
Color: Scarlet/Purple

March 17 2008 / Saint Patrick, Ireland
Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 36:5-11 (7)
Hebrews 9:11-15
John 12:1-11
Color: Scarlet/Purple

March 18, 2008
Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 71:1-14 (6)
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
John 12:20-36
Color: Scarlet/Purple

March 19, 2008
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 70 (1)
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32
Color: Scarlet/Purple

March 19, 2008
2 Samuel 7:4, 8-16 Psalm 89:1-29 (2)
Romans 4:13-18 Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a Color: White

1a. CONTEXT - Matthew 27:1-54

This is the greatest opportunity of the year to reach people with the
Passion story; the Good Friday congregation may be smaller. The gospel
essentially proclaims itself, most effectively if parts are taken by
individual members and the congregation. The homily may be brief and
confined to one or two points.

Matthew derived his basic narrative from Mark and embellished it,
mainly with legendary details, but also to bring out Jesus' royal glory.
Formerly, it was believed that Mark took his story from a basic Passion
source, but redaction critics argue that his theology has permeated it
throughout. The main story line of the trial before Pilate and the
Crucifixion must have been traditional, but details have been added from
the Psalms and the Servant Songs of Second Isaiah. Some of the alleged
additions may have actually been historical, especially Jesus' cry from the
Cross (27:46), which Luke and John omit. The O.T. could then have been
drawn on for other motifs. Thus Matthew speaks of gall (vs. 34; Ps. 69:21)
in place of Mark's "myrrh." Certainly Matthew has made the narrative more
miraculous, and while some of the additions heighten the drama--the
death of Judas, the dream of Pilate's wife, and the saints risen from their
graves--they are open to historical question.

Today's business, however, is proclamation of the message of
salvation through the Cross: Jesus' obedience to his Father's will, his
dignity in facing rejection and torture, and the centurion's confession that
he is Son of God. Mark's insight, still visible in Matthew, is that the full
meaning of "Son of God" is shown when Jesus has finally suffered as Son of
Man. (Matt. 17:21).

1b. TEXT - Matthew 27:1-54 (ESV)
Jesus Delivered to Pilate
27:1 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. 2 And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.
Judas Hangs Himself
3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus [1] was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter's field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed me.”
Jesus Before Pilate
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
The Crowd Chooses Barabbas
15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; [2] see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged [3] Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
Jesus Is Mocked
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, [4] and they gathered the whole battalion [5] before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
The Crucifixion
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
The Death of Jesus
45 Now from the sixth hour [6] there was darkness over all the land [7] until the ninth hour. [8] 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son [9] of God!”


[1] 27:3 Greek he

[2] 27:24 Some manuscripts this righteous blood, or this righteous man's blood

[3] 27:26 A Roman judicial penalty, consisting of a severe beating with a multi-lashed whip containing imbedded pieces of bone and metal 

[4] 27:27 Greek the praetorium

[5] 27:27 Greek cohort; a tenth of a Roman legion, usually about 600 men

[6] 27:45 That is, noon

[7] 27:45 Or earth

[8] 27:45 That is, 3 p.m.

[9] 27:54 Or a son


1πρωιας δε γενομενης συμβουλιον ελαβον παντες οι αρχιερεις και οι πρεσβυτεροι του λαου κατα του ιησου ωστε θανατωσαι αυτον: 2και δησαντες αυτον απηγαγον και παρεδωκαν πιλατω τω ηγεμονι. 3τοτε ιδων ιουδας ο παραδιδους αυτον οτι κατεκριθη μεταμεληθεις εστρεψεν τα τριακοντα αργυρια τοις αρχιερευσιν και πρεσβυτεροις 4λεγων, ημαρτον παραδους αιμα αθωον. οι δε ειπαν, τι προς ημας; συ οψη. 5και ριψας τα αργυρια εις τον ναον ανεχωρησεν, και απελθων απηγξατο. 6οι δε αρχιερεις λαβοντες τα αργυρια ειπαν, ουκ εξεστιν βαλειν αυτα εις τον κορβαναν, επει τιμη αιματος εστιν. 7συμβουλιον δε λαβοντες ηγορασαν εξ αυτων τον αγρον του κεραμεως εις ταφην τοις ξενοις. 8διο εκληθη ο αγρος εκεινος αγρος αιματος εως της σημερον. 9τοτε επληρωθη το ρηθεν δια ιερεμιου του προφητου λεγοντος, και ελαβον τα τριακοντα αργυρια, την τιμην του τετιμημενου ον ετιμησαντο απο υιων ισραηλ, 10και εδωκαν αυτα εις τον αγρον του κεραμεως, καθα συνεταξεν μοι κυριος. 11ο δε ιησους εσταθη εμπροσθεν του ηγεμονος: και επηρωτησεν αυτον ο ηγεμων λεγων, συ ει ο βασιλευς των ιουδαιων; ο δε ιησους εφη, συ λεγεις. 12και εν τω κατηγορεισθαι αυτον υπο των αρχιερεων και πρεσβυτερων ουδεν απεκρινατο. 13τοτε λεγει αυτω ο πιλατος, ουκ ακουεις ποσα σου καταμαρτυρουσιν; 14και ουκ απεκριθη αυτω προς ουδε εν ρημα, ωστε θαυμαζειν τον ηγεμονα λιαν. 15κατα δε εορτην ειωθει ο ηγεμων απολυειν ενα τω οχλω δεσμιον ον ηθελον. 16ειχον δε τοτε δεσμιον επισημον λεγομενον [ιησουν] βαραββαν. 17συνηγμενων ουν αυτων ειπεν αυτοις ο πιλατος, τινα θελετε απολυσω υμιν, [ιησουν τον] βαραββαν η ιησουν τον λεγομενον χριστον; 18ηδει γαρ οτι δια φθονον παρεδωκαν αυτον. 19καθημενου δε αυτου επι του βηματος απεστειλεν προς αυτον η γυνη αυτου λεγουσα, μηδεν σοι και τω δικαιω εκεινω, πολλα γαρ επαθον σημερον κατ οναρ δι αυτον. 20οι δε αρχιερεις και οι πρεσβυτεροι επεισαν τους οχλους ινα αιτησωνται τον βαραββαν τον δε ιησουν απολεσωσιν. 21αποκριθεις δε ο ηγεμων ειπεν αυτοις, τινα θελετε απο των δυο απολυσω υμιν; οι δε ειπαν, τον βαραββαν. 22λεγει αυτοις ο πιλατος, τι ουν ποιησω ιησουν τον λεγομενον χριστον; λεγουσιν παντες, σταυρωθητω. 23ο δε εφη, τι γαρ κακον εποιησεν; οι δε περισσως εκραζον λεγοντες, σταυρωθητω. 24ιδων δε ο πιλατος οτι ουδεν ωφελει αλλα μαλλον θορυβος γινεται, λαβων υδωρ απενιψατο τας χειρας απεναντι του οχλου, λεγων, αθωος ειμι απο του αιματος τουτου: υμεις οψεσθε. 25και αποκριθεις πας ο λαος ειπεν, το αιμα αυτου εφ ημας και επι τα τεκνα ημων. 26τοτε απελυσεν αυτοις τον βαραββαν, τον δε ιησουν φραγελλωσας παρεδωκεν ινα σταυρωθη. 27τοτε οι στρατιωται του ηγεμονος παραλαβοντες τον ιησουν εις το πραιτωριον συνηγαγον επ αυτον ολην την σπειραν. 28και εκδυσαντες αυτον χλαμυδα κοκκινην περιεθηκαν αυτω, 29και πλεξαντες στεφανον εξ ακανθων επεθηκαν επι της κεφαλης αυτου και καλαμον εν τη δεξια αυτου, και γονυπετησαντες εμπροσθεν αυτου ενεπαιξαν αυτω λεγοντες, χαιρε, βασιλευ των ιουδαιων, 30και εμπτυσαντες εις αυτον ελαβον τον καλαμον και ετυπτον εις την κεφαλην αυτου. 31και οτε ενεπαιξαν αυτω, εξεδυσαν αυτον την χλαμυδα και ενεδυσαν αυτον τα ιματια αυτου, και απηγαγον αυτον εις το σταυρωσαι. 32εξερχομενοι δε ευρον ανθρωπον κυρηναιον ονοματι σιμωνα: τουτον ηγγαρευσαν ινα αρη τον σταυρον αυτου. 33και ελθοντες εις τοπον λεγομενον γολγοθα, ο εστιν κρανιου τοπος λεγομενος, 34εδωκαν αυτω πιειν οινον μετα χολης μεμιγμενον: και γευσαμενος ουκ ηθελησεν πιειν. 35σταυρωσαντες δε αυτον διεμερισαντο τα ιματια αυτου βαλλοντες κληρον, 36και καθημενοι ετηρουν αυτον εκει. 37και επεθηκαν επανω της κεφαλης αυτου την αιτιαν αυτου γεγραμμενην: ουτος εστιν ιησους ο βασιλευς των ιουδαιων. 38τοτε σταυρουνται συν αυτω δυο λησται, εις εκ δεξιων και εις εξ ευωνυμων. 39οι δε παραπορευομενοι εβλασφημουν αυτον κινουντες τας κεφαλας αυτων 40και λεγοντες, ο καταλυων τον ναον και εν τρισιν ημεραις οικοδομων, σωσον σεαυτον, ει υιος ει του θεου, [και] καταβηθι απο του σταυρου. 41ομοιως και οι αρχιερεις εμπαιζοντες μετα των γραμματεων και πρεσβυτερων ελεγον, 42αλλους εσωσεν, εαυτον ου δυναται σωσαι: βασιλευς ισραηλ εστιν, καταβατω νυν απο του σταυρου και πιστευσομεν επ αυτον. 43πεποιθεν επι τον θεον, ρυσασθω νυν ει θελει αυτον: ειπεν γαρ οτι θεου ειμι υιος. 44το δ αυτο και οι λησται οι συσταυρωθεντες συν αυτω ωνειδιζον αυτον. 45απο δε εκτης ωρας σκοτος εγενετο επι πασαν την γην εως ωρας ενατης. 46περι δε την ενατην ωραν ανεβοησεν ο ιησους φωνη μεγαλη λεγων, ηλι ηλι λεμα σαβαχθανι; τουτ εστιν, θεε μου θεε μου, ινατι με εγκατελιπες; 47τινες δε των εκει εστηκοτων ακουσαντες ελεγον οτι ηλιαν φωνει ουτος. 48και ευθεως δραμων εις εξ αυτων και λαβων σπογγον πλησας τε οξους και περιθεις καλαμω εποτιζεν αυτον. 49οι δε λοιποι ελεγον, αφες ιδωμεν ει ερχεται ηλιας σωσων αυτον. 50ο δε ιησους παλιν κραξας φωνη μεγαλη αφηκεν το πνευμα. 51και ιδου το καταπετασμα του ναου εσχισθη απ ανωθεν εως κατω εις δυο, και η γη εσεισθη, και αι πετραι εσχισθησαν, 52και τα μνημεια ανεωχθησαν και πολλα σωματα των κεκοιμημενων αγιων ηγερθησαν, 53και εξελθοντες εκ των μνημειων μετα την εγερσιν αυτου εισηλθον εις την αγιαν πολιν και ενεφανισθησαν πολλοις. 54ο δε εκατονταρχος και οι μετ αυτου τηρουντες τον ιησουν ιδοντες τον σεισμον και τα γενομενα εφοβηθησαν σφοδρα, λεγοντες, αληθως θεου υιος ην ουτος.

2. ANALYSIS - Matthew 27:1-54

Matt. 27:9-10 - The quotation has influenced the account of Judas' betrayal
and death. It is introduced by one of Matthew's special formulas. It
contains only a few words from Jeremiah and is based mainly on Zech.

11:12f. "Treasury" and "potter" are similar in Hebrew, hence the "potter's
field." "As the Lord commanded me" may come from Exodus 9:12.

27:11 - King of the Jews--this was the title of Herod the Great and
denoted political monarchy. Jesus was condemned on the charge of such a
pretension (vs. 37). su legeis --possible "Yes, you have said it;" more
probably ambiguous, "The words are yours."

27:17 - There is no clear evidence elsewhere that a prisoner was released
at festival time in Judaea, though the custom occurred elsewhere.
Barabbas was evidently a revolutionist (Mark 15:7). A few important MSS.
give him the name Jesus Barabbas; this may be an actual tradition, and it
heightens the pathos of the story.

27:19 - Julius Caesar's wife Calpurnia had a portentous dream before his
murder. Matthew speaks elsewhere of revelation through dreams (1:20;
2:13, 19).

27:24-25 - Pilate alone had the power to condemn Jesus, but the gospel
writers try to excuse him so far as possible (Mark 15:14; Luke 23:13-25).
John 19:12 suggests that Pilate was threatened with a report to the
emperor that he has released a man guilty of high treason.

27:30 - Cf. Isa. 50:6 - "I gave my back to the smiters. . . I hid not my face
from shame and spitting."

27:32 -ton stauron - not the entire cross, but the cross beam which was to
be nailed to a pole or tree; see "Crucifixion, Method of," IDB, p. 199f.

27:34 - choles- gall, perhaps a reminiscence of Ps. 69:21, where the
Hebrew word means "poison."
27:35 - Cf. Ps. 22:18.

27:39 - Cf. Ps. 22:7.

27:42 - King of Israel (not King of the Jews), a title of honor, suggesting
the eschatological restoration of the nation. The taunt is that he should
come down from the Cross and be victorious, but only his death can
establish the true Israel.

27:43 - Cf. Ps. 22:8.

27:46 - Eli eli lema sabachthani- Aramaic, except that Matthew has
changed (Greek) to the Heb. form. If Jesus spoke these words, he was
quoting Ps. 22:1; it is either a cry of despair or an expression of hope; the
Psalm ends in confidence.

27:47 - The thought that Jesus was calling for Elijah, the rescuer of Israel
and precursor of the Messiah, is more understandable if Jesus said,

27:51 - naou- not the Holy of Holies but the entire Temple enclosure. All
of it is now obsolete (cf. Heb. 10:19 f.; there is now a new Temple and a
new veil).

27:52-53 - These portents suggest that the old age is past and a new era
has come.

27:54 - In Mark 15:39, it is only the centurion who says this. The
confession reinforces Matthew's constant teaching that Jesus is Son of

3. STRATEGY: Matthew 27: 1-54

Matthew's basic Christology sees Jesus as the royal Messiah, Son of
David who is even more, the Son of God. The Cross is paradoxical--"He
saved others, himself he cannot save"--but faith in him is proved true
through his obedience, his dignity in suffering, and his identification with
sinners--crucified between two bandits, he was "reckoned with
transgressors" (Luke 22:37; Isa. 53:12). This is glory, because he is the
Son of God, and this means that God sides with sinners and justifies them.
The centurion's affirmation is more important than the earthquake.

If any of the words from the Cross is historical, it is 27:46, and
this might be the text of a homily. Another possibility is Phil. 2:5-11, the
second lesson for the day, especially vss. 8-11, which sum up the message
of the Cross.
One could, of course, mention the political situation. This was a
judicial murder in which the authorities, Pilate and the high priestly gang,
were trying to protect their power and prestige.

This is not a time for mentioning (technical) textual difficulties, but if any problem is to be
dealt with, one should say that even if the mob actually said, "His blood be
on us and on our children," these people could not speak for the Jewish
people as a whole. Paul was right when he said that "the rulers of this
aeon" had "crucified the Lord of glory" (I Cor. 2:8). Every killing of
innocent people is a sign of spiritual evil in the body politic, and righteous
sufferers are treated as Jesus was.


Fuller, R.H. PREACHING THE NEW LECTIONARY, p. l64 f. Collegeville,
Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1974.

Johnson, S.E. THE YEAR OF THE LORD'S FAVOR, pp. 102-104, 107-111. New
York: Seabury Press, 1983.

Sloyan, G.S. JESUS IN FOCUS, Chap. 19. Mystic, Conn.: Twenty-Third
Publications, 1983.

Strange, J.F. "Crucifixion, Method of," THE INTERPRETER'S DICTIONARY OF
THE BIBLE, Suppl. Vol, p. 199f. Nashville: Abingdon, 1976.


The Passion Chorale is included in LBW (116,117) and in the
Episcopal Hymnal (168).

Other useful hymns are:

"O Holy Jesus" (Herzliebster Jesu), LBW 123, HB 158;

"Were You There When They Crucified my Lord," LBW 92, HB172;
and "O Sorrow Deep" (O Traurigkeit), HB173.

For other music there is another better than Bach's "St. Matthew Passion,"
whose libretto combines the gospel message with profound personal piety.

Exegete: Sherman E. Johnson (†)

Editor's Note: Lest the reader of this and Good Friday's exegesis papers
suspect a pro-Bach conspiracy is afoot among the authors of LEXEGETE,
please note that we were unaware of Dr. Johnson's praise for the Saint
Matthew-Passion prior to writing the exegesis for Good Friday.

In fact, we can think of no better preparation for Holy Week than to spend
at least some time this week with J.S.B. in meditation.

Some of the most poignant and soul-rending themes of all time are found
within the St. Matthew Passion, not only in terms of the main theme
(O Sacred Head) repeated in several variations, but also in sub-themes,
such as:

Pare-toi, mon coeur, pour lui;
Tu vas etre le sepulcre ou Jesus dort et repose,
Car c'est en toi desormais,
C'est en toi qu'il veut faire sa demeure;
Monde, adieu, descends en moi,
O Jesus, descends en moi!

In some peculiar way, this passage (Aria Nr. 75) touches me because it is so reminiscent of the prayer my Großmutter Anna Weiß taught me and which her great-grandchildren pray:

Ich bin klein, mein Herz ist rein, niemand darf im wohnen, als Jesus allein. AMEN.




Dartmouth,MA 02747


L E N T - - FIVE

Lexegete™ | Year A | Matthew


March 9, 2008

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130 (5)
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

1a. CONTEXT - John 11: 1-45

Our text occurs near the end of the first half of John. In this

section Jesus reveals to the world glory (doksa)--both his and the Father's

(2:1-12:50). In the next section (13:1-20:29) Jesus receives glory, the

height of which is his crucifixion. Our passage, together with chapter 12,

is the transition from the first part of the gospel to the second. It gives

the narrative motivation for the succeeding chapters: namely, the

resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus, which serves to crystallize into a

definite plot the opposition of the religious leaders. (On theories of

sources, including the semeia source, editing, and possible Synoptic

connections see Haenchen, 67-69; and Schnackenburg, 318-20, 341-44.)

The author is unknown to us. In recent years his community has

been identified as being in Asia Minor, Syria, and possibly even Samaria.

The usual date assigned to the final version is somewhere in the 90's.

1b. TEXT- John 11: 1-45 (ESV)

11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus [1] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, [2] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles [3] off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. [4] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, [46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.]


[1] 11:6 Greek he; also verse 17

[2] 11:16 Greek Didymus

[3] 11:18 Greek fifteen stadia; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters

[4] 11:25 Some manuscripts omit and the life

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London

1ην δε τις ασθενων, λαζαρος απο βηθανιας, εκ της κωμης μαριας και μαρθας της αδελφης αυτης. 2ην δε μαριαμ η αλειψασα τον κυριον μυρω και εκμαξασα τους ποδας αυτου ταις θριξιν αυτης, ης ο αδελφος λαζαρος ησθενει. 3απεστειλαν ουν αι αδελφαι προς αυτον λεγουσαι, κυριε, ιδε ον φιλεις ασθενει. 4ακουσας δε ο ιησους ειπεν, αυτη η ασθενεια ουκ εστιν προς θανατον αλλ υπερ της δοξης του θεου, ινα δοξασθη ο υιος του θεου δι αυτης. 5ηγαπα δε ο ιησους την μαρθαν και την αδελφην αυτης και τον λαζαρον. 6ως ουν ηκουσεν οτι ασθενει, τοτε μεν εμεινεν εν ω ην τοπω δυο ημερας: 7επειτα μετα τουτο λεγει τοις μαθηταις, αγωμεν εις την ιουδαιαν παλιν. 8λεγουσιν αυτω οι μαθηται, ραββι, νυν εζητουν σε λιθασαι οι ιουδαιοι, και παλιν υπαγεις εκει; 9απεκριθη ιησους, ουχι δωδεκα ωραι εισιν της ημερας; εαν τις περιπατη εν τη ημερα, ου προσκοπτει, οτι το φως του κοσμου τουτου βλεπει: 10εαν δε τις περιπατη εν τη νυκτι, προσκοπτει, οτι το φως ουκ εστιν εν αυτω. 11ταυτα ειπεν, και μετα τουτο λεγει αυτοις, λαζαρος ο φιλος ημων κεκοιμηται, αλλα πορευομαι ινα εξυπνισω αυτον. 12ειπαν ουν οι μαθηται αυτω, κυριε, ει κεκοιμηται σωθησεται. 13ειρηκει δε ο ιησους περι του θανατου αυτου. εκεινοι δε εδοξαν οτι περι της κοιμησεως του υπνου λεγει. 14τοτε ουν ειπεν αυτοις ο ιησους παρρησια, λαζαρος απεθανεν, 15και χαιρω δι υμας, ινα πιστευσητε, οτι ουκ ημην εκει: αλλα αγωμεν προς αυτον. 16ειπεν ουν θωμας ο λεγομενος διδυμος τοις συμμαθηταις, αγωμεν και ημεις ινα αποθανωμεν μετ αυτου. 17ελθων ουν ο ιησους ευρεν αυτον τεσσαρας ηδη ημερας εχοντα εν τω μνημειω. 18ην δε η βηθανια εγγυς των ιεροσολυμων ως απο σταδιων δεκαπεντε. 19πολλοι δε εκ των ιουδαιων εληλυθεισαν προς την μαρθαν και μαριαμ ινα παραμυθησωνται αυτας περι του αδελφου. 20η ουν μαρθα ως ηκουσεν οτι ιησους ερχεται υπηντησεν αυτω: μαριαμ δε εν τω οικω εκαθεζετο. 21ειπεν ουν η μαρθα προς τον ιησουν, κυριε, ει ης ωδε ουκ αν απεθανεν ο αδελφος μου: 22[αλλα] και νυν οιδα οτι οσα αν αιτηση τον θεον δωσει σοι ο θεος. 23λεγει αυτη ο ιησους, αναστησεται ο αδελφος σου. 24λεγει αυτω η μαρθα, οιδα οτι αναστησεται εν τη αναστασει εν τη εσχατη ημερα. 25ειπεν αυτη ο ιησους, εγω ειμι η αναστασις και η ζωη: ο πιστευων εις εμε καν αποθανη ζησεται, 26και πας ο ζων και πιστευων εις εμε ου μη αποθανη εις τον αιωνα: πιστευεις τουτο; 27λεγει αυτω, ναι, κυριε: εγω πεπιστευκα οτι συ ει ο χριστος ο υιος του θεου ο εις τον κοσμον ερχομενος. 28και τουτο ειπουσα απηλθεν και εφωνησεν μαριαμ την αδελφην αυτης λαθρα ειπουσα, ο διδασκαλος παρεστιν και φωνει σε. 29εκεινη δε ως ηκουσεν ηγερθη ταχυ και ηρχετο προς αυτον: 30ουπω δε εληλυθει ο ιησους εις την κωμην, αλλ ην ετι εν τω τοπω οπου υπηντησεν αυτω η μαρθα. 31οι ουν ιουδαιοι οι οντες μετ αυτης εν τη οικια και παραμυθουμενοι αυτην, ιδοντες την μαριαμ οτι ταχεως ανεστη και εξηλθεν, ηκολουθησαν αυτη, δοξαντες οτι υπαγει εις το μνημειον ινα κλαυση εκει. 32η ουν μαριαμ ως ηλθεν οπου ην ιησους ιδουσα αυτον επεσεν αυτου προς τους ποδας, λεγουσα αυτω, κυριε, ει ης ωδε ουκ αν μου απεθανεν ο αδελφος. 33ιησους ουν ως ειδεν αυτην κλαιουσαν και τους συνελθοντας αυτη ιουδαιους κλαιοντας, ενεβριμησατο τω πνευματι και εταραξεν εαυτον, 34και ειπεν, που τεθεικατε αυτον; λεγουσιν αυτω, κυριε, ερχου και ιδε. 35εδακρυσεν ο ιησους. 36ελεγον ουν οι ιουδαιοι, ιδε πως εφιλει αυτον. 37τινες δε εξ αυτων ειπαν, ουκ εδυνατο ουτος ο ανοιξας τους οφθαλμους του τυφλου ποιησαι ινα και ουτος μη αποθανη; 38ιησους ουν παλιν εμβριμωμενος εν εαυτω ερχεται εις το μνημειον: ην δε σπηλαιον, και λιθος επεκειτο επ αυτω. 39λεγει ο ιησους, αρατε τον λιθον. λεγει αυτω η αδελφη του τετελευτηκοτος μαρθα, κυριε, ηδη οζει, τεταρταιος γαρ εστιν. 40λεγει αυτη ο ιησους, ουκ ειπον σοι οτι εαν πιστευσης οψη την δοξαν του θεου; 41ηραν ουν τον λιθον. ο δε ιησους ηρεν τους οφθαλμους ανω και ειπεν, πατερ, ευχαριστω σοι οτι ηκουσας μου. 42εγω δε ηδειν οτι παντοτε μου ακουεις: αλλα δια τον οχλον τον περιεστωτα ειπον, ινα πιστευσωσιν οτι συ με απεστειλας. 43και ταυτα ειπων φωνη μεγαλη εκραυγασεν, λαζαρε, δευρο εξω. 44εξηλθεν ο τεθνηκως δεδεμενος τους ποδας και τας χειρας κειριαις, και η οψις αυτου σουδαριω περιεδεδετο. λεγει αυτοις ο ιησους, λυσατε αυτον και αφετε αυτον υπαγειν. 45πολλοι ουν εκ των ιουδαιων, οι ελθοντες προς την μαριαμ και θεασαμενοι α εποιησεν, επιστευσαν εις αυτον: [ 46τινες δε εξ αυτων απηλθον προς τους φαρισαιους και ειπαν αυτοις α εποιησεν ιησους. ]

2. ANALYSIS- John 11: 1-45

John 11:1-4 Scene 1 - Message to Jesus; Jesus' Response. The name

Lazarus immediately connects this chapter with chapter 12 (12:1, 9, 17).

Vs. 2 makes a similar connection to 12: 1-8, the annointing for burial

performed by Mary. Jesus responds oddly to the sisters' message,

predicting that Lazarus will not die and that his illness is (a) huper teis

doxeis tou theou; and (b) hina doxasthe ho huios tou theou. Jesus

throughout this gospel seeks the glory of the Father (7:18, e.g.); in seeking

the Father's glory, Jesus himself is glorified, since he and the Father are

one. How will the upcoming action glorify them? First, through the

revealing of the life-giving power in Jesus, and secondly, by leading to the

cross, which is the final and greatest glorification (12:16, 23, 28;

13:31-33;17:1, 4-5).

11:5-16 Scene 2: Jesus and the Disciples. The disciples object to

returning to Judea (vs. 8; see 8:59; 10:31, 39), asking Jesus, "Are you going

(hupageis) there again?" Elsewhere hupago refers to the threat of death in

rather explicit ways (7:3, 8:22), but it more frequently refers to Jesus'

returning to the Father (7:33; 8:14, 21;13:3,33,36; 14:4,5,28; 16:5, 10,17).

The way by which he returns is the crucifixion. It is therefore interesting

that in 11:44, Jesus directs the bystanders to "Unbind him, and let him go"

(hypagein). It is the act of Jesus in "hypago-ing" Lazarus that provides the

opportunity for him to hypago to the Father (see also 12:11). Jesus

explains his euphemism about Lazarus' death (vs. 15)! hina pisteusete

foreshadows the meaning and function of the Lazarus event. Thomas

reminds us once again that this entry into Judea will result in Jesus' death

(vs. 16).

11:7-17 Scene 3: Jesus and Martha. The word "tomb" mnemeion (vs.17),

assumes an unusual importance. It is used in John in three settings: (a) in

5:28-29 Jesus predicts the nearness ofthe hour when all in the tombs will

hear the voice of the Son of God and come forth; at one level, that is

exactly what is to happen in this miracle story; (b) in our current pericope

in ves. 17, 31, and 38; (c) in the burial and resurrection of Jesus (19:41,

42; 20:1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 11). Thus Lazarus and Jesus are closely linked by the

use of the term.

Martha expresses her confidence in Jesus (vs. 21), and vs. 22,

with its kai nyn oida, carries a strong confessional sense. At the

center of the miracle story is the great revelation in vs. 25a: 'ego eimi he

'anastasis kai he zoe. Jesus is the Revealer; as in the other ego eimi

sayings, he here reveals who he is. Yet that is not to say that in some

metaphysical sense Jesus "is" resurrection and life. Rather, the nouns

describe what Jesus does for humanity: i.e., he raises and gives life to the

one who believes in him. While Martha expects a future resurrection of the

dead, the one with the resurrection power stands before her now.

The death in vs. 25b is biological death; such death does not

end the life found in Jesus. The death of vs. 26 is death in relationship to

God (spiritual death), a death which is not possible for the believer (note

the ou mh of vs. 26a). The significance of believing is underlined by

Jesus' final question, "Do you believe this?" Martha's confession in vs. 27

is solemn and formal: she calls him kyrie, and says, pepisteuka, literally,

" I have believed" (the perfect tense), which has the sense of "I firmly


11:28-37 Scene 4: Jesus, Mary, and the Jews. While she repeats the

first sentence of her sister (ves. 32 and 21), Mary's faith is only at the

miracle-working stage; she is unable to take the next step taken by

Martha. The reaction of Jesus in vs. 33 is anger.

The verb is 'enebrimesato, which literally means to snort like a horse. It

is normally used for anger (Mark 1:43, 14:5, e.g.). He is angry at the

inability of Mary and the Jews to understand who he is (vss. 25-26). They

wail (klaiontas) and mourn, while Life stands before them. And so when

thse unseeing people tell Jesus to "come and see" (vs. 34), he can only

weep (edakrysen). Vs/ 37 reminds the reader of 9:1-34, the healing of the

blind man. By recalling that episode, John links the healing of the blind

man and the raising of the dead man. Who is Jesus? He is and Light and

the Life of humanity.

11:38-44 Scene 5: Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead. Once more

Jesus snorts like a horse, this time at the remark in vs. 37. In vs. 39

Jesus commands; Martha objects, but she has good reason. The common

belief among Jews at the time was that the soul stayed with the body for

three days; after that period the soul entered the realm of the dead and the

body began to decay. By the fourth day there is no possibility that the soul

can reenter the body. Besides that, by now "he stinks" (hozei). Jesus'

response in vs. 40 once more reminds us of earlier themes: vss. 4, 25-26.

The key, though, as in the earlier exchange with Martha, is believing. Only

by faith can one identify in the miracles the glory of God.

The miracle itself is characteristically brief and emphasizes the

power of Jesus' effective word. The soudarion (vs. 44) was a cloth band

that went over the head and under the chin; it was used to keep closed the

mouth of the corpse. In John the word is used only here and for Jesus in

20:7, where, however, the soudarion had been laid aside in his

resurrection. Jesus will leave behind forever the burial clothes which

Lazarus will have once again to don.

11:45-53 Scene 6: Reactions. The fear of the leaders is outlined in

vss. 47-48: Jesus and his signs are too popular. As more believe in him

(as Messiah? see 6: 14-15) the Romans will become interested and will

destroy "our place," meaning the temple ("holy" is not in the Greek) as well

as the nation. To that Caiaphas responds, vss. 49-50. At one level, his

statement simply means tht it would be better to get rid of one man,

Jesus, so that the nation and its institutions (including the positions of

the priests and Pharisees!) could continue. At another level, the meaning

is that Jesus dies for the nation and for the scattered children, i.e., the

Gentiles, thus creating one new people of God (cf. the oneness theme in

17:11, 21-23). The final result of the meeting is the coalescence of

disgruntled feelings into a definite plan (vs. 53). Jesus, the giver of life

to Lazarus, must die.

3. STRATEGY- John 11: 1-45

One of the difficulties in preaching on this text on this Sunday

is the proximity of Passion Sunday and Easter Sunday over the following

two weeks. It will be difficult to avoid preaching about resurrection!

Perhaps the provisional nature of the "resurrection" of Lazarus (really a

temporary resuscitation) can serve as a brake to our overly much

anticipating Easter.

What then can be dealt with?

(a) Jesus glorifies the Father; the Father will glorify Jesus. But how?

Through the cross. An exploration of the topic of true glory, particularly

given the current penchant in popular American religion for gloryland

theology, could be quite helpful.

(b) At this point in Lent a consideration of the place of belief in Jesus

and the meaning of his death would be most appropriate; one could built

especially on vss. 25-26, 40, 42.

(c) Christ brings life to humanity; humanity in turn tries to kill the life


(d) Through faith God frees us to live life as God intended us to live. This

theme would be especially approppriate if the first two lessons were used.

(e) Christ gives (eternal) life now. One could explore the Johannine

idea--frightening that it is--that there is nothing the believer or

unbeliever will have in the eschatological future besides what she or he

has now. Life and death are present tense experiences.

4. REFERENCES - John 11: 1-45

Brown, Raymond E. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN (i-xii). Anchor Bible
29. Garden City: Doubleday, l966.

Bultmann, Rudolf. THE GOSPEL OF JOHN: A COMMENTARY, trans. G.R.

Beasley-Murray, gen. ed. Philadelphia: Westminster, l971.

CHAPTERS 7-21. trans. Robert W. Funk. Hermeneia. Philadelphia:
Fortress, l984.

Kysar, Robert. JOHN. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament.
Minneapolis: Augsburg, l986.

Minneapolis: Augsburg, l980.

Schnackenburg, Rudolf. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN, Volume 2.
trans. Cecily Hastings et al. London: Burns & Oates, l980.

5. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS- John 11: 1-45

AN EXCELLENT ENTRANCE HYMN IS LBW #265 (HB 6/7) , "Christ, Whose

Glory Fills the Skies," especially if the glory theme from John is


Two hymns are good sermon possibilities: LBW #97, "Christ, the Life of

All the Living" and LBW # 464, "You Are the Way." Both would work well

with the theme of life.

LBW #207, "We Who Once Were Dead" would be an excellent communion

hymn, as would LBW #210(HB 174), "At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing,"

especially vss. 1-5.

Exegete: Walter F. Taylor, Jr. is the Ogram Professor of New Testament
at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.


For an interesting examination of the Easter theme of Resurrection,
see the recent RESURRECTION, by Pheme Perkins ( Garden City,NY:
Doubleday, 1984). Perkins, a member of the theology faculty at Boston
College is one of the outstanding New Testament theologians today.
she received her PhD from Harvard and has published numerous books and
articles in the field of New Testament studies. Hers is the rare ability to
be able to bridge the great gulf that exists between the academic
specialists in thelogy and ordinary laypersons (Luther's "simple
ploughmen"). RESURRECTION has been compared with Raymond Brown's
BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH for its thoroughness and thoughtfulness.

During the brouhaha over the “gospel” of Judas a few years ago, Perkins issued amn
Esxcellent critiqwue in AMERICA:




Dartmouth,MA 02747