The Gospel of John today tells us the last hours of Jesus’ life. He speaks of the agony in the garden, when He was betrayed and arrested. The story is told of Jesus being brought before the high priests, questioned, mocked and insulted. He was then brought before Pilate, scourged and crowned with thorns. Finally, he was condemned to carry His cross to the place where He would die.
This story is one I’m sure you’ve heard many times. You know what happened to Jesus, and every year on this day we hear it again. Some mumble, groan and complain about hearing it again. I know I’ve done it before. Is it a long Gospel? Yes. Have you heard it before? Yes. Will you hear it again? Absolutely.
Jesus asks us to meditate and really think about His passion and death once a year, on the anniversary of his death on the cross. Sometimes, it can be hard to meditate on something that we didn’t witness, but that is why we read it about it today.
The bible is packed full of instances that we can relate to, but sometimes we just read and never apply it to our lives. Today’s readings teach us a lot, and Jesus teaches us a lot in them as well. So it gives us plenty to meditate on this Good Friday.
There was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.
Jesus was human just like you and me. He was born a baby and taught by Mary and Joseph. He learned how to do things just like we do. He felt pain and hurt. He could laugh and cry. He could also bleed and die. He was human like us, hidden in a world that wasn’t ready for Him, but He had one mission; to save us all.
Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured.
Indeed, Jesus was man but also God and He had to fulfill what He had come to do. He took all our burdens and sins on himself so we would never have to carry them on our own. He took the sins of mankind and defeated them so we could one day join Him in Heaven.
“You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?”
Pilate was standing in front of and looking into the eyes of truth and He asked, “What is truth?” Pilate was too concerned about His own welfare and prestige that He was blinded from seeing the truth and defending it. If you have been blinded from the truth pray, especially today, that Jesus will break through that wall so you can see truth and defend it.
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and placed it on his head.”
Think of the intense pain Jesus endured while cruel soldiers tore his flesh, spilled His blood and pierced His head. He did this for you.
Jesus stood in front of a crowd that He would be dying for and they chanted His condemnation. No one stood up for Jesus, no one defended Him. Do you stand up for the innocent or do you defend the truth? Would you have defended Jesus?
“There they crucified him.”
“Though He was harshly treated, he submitted and opened no his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.”
Through everything, Jesus was mostly silent. He never defended Himself and only spoke up when His Father in Heaven was involved. He was silent. Have you practiced silence this Lent? Do you allow the world around you to grow quiet, so you can hear what God is trying to tell you?
“And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.”
Now, take a moment of silence to reflect on this verse. Pray and meditate on it. With Jesus’ last breath, He saved you. Thank Him. Thank Him for selflessly giving up His life for you.
“If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him.”
Jesus’ death on the cross saved us all from death. He completely submitted himself to the will of His Father, and gave us life. We now have the opportunity to be with Him forever in Heaven. It is indeed, a good Friday.
Today is His day. It is a day of prayer, penance, reflection, fasting and meditation. Today we have the opportunity to selflessly give ourselves to God who gave it all for us because our sins are what scourged Him, crowned Him and pierced Him. We have the honor to meditate on His passion and grow closer to Him. No matter what your day is like, give some time to Him on this Good Friday. Don’t just follow along with the readings today, really think about them and let Jesus talk to you through them. Let Him love you from the cross.