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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

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


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