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Lent Reflections @ CEC: Good Friday

Scripture context:

Good Friday 2024

They arrest Him at night, a small army led to Him by a betraying disciple. They intend to take Him to a secret trial and then have Him executed. He makes them confess that they only came to arrest Him, and fulfills the scripture by assuring the release of His disciples.

John 18:10-11

Then Simon Peter drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest,cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. “Put your sword back in its sheath!” Jesus said to Peter. “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?”

Peter, knowing what will happen to Jesus because Jesus told him what will happen, decides that God made a mistake, taking matters into his own hands. 

And Judas His betrayer was standing there with them.“ as told he would be by the prophets in his own Scriptures, as well as his friend the Messiah. He later profoundly regrets a lot of this.

Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot both find their lives turned upside down by the will of God. What they understand as human beings fails to prepare them for how God moves through their lives.

They’re not alone.

John 19:2-4

The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns, set it on His head, and dressed Him in a purple robe. And they went up to Him again and again, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and slapping Him in the face. Once again Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.

Did the soldiers mock the condemned or did they mock His crime? Pontius Pilate refuses to believe that Jesus commits any crime at all.

The Jews tell Pilate that Jesus claims to be the Son Of God, but Jesus refuses to tell Pilate where He’s from. He remains silent.

John 19:10-11

So Pilate said to Him, “Do You refuse to speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of greater sin.”

Again, the will of God fails to match Pilate’s human understanding of why these things must happen.

Shall I crucify your King?” Pilate asked the Jews. 

John 19:18-19

There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had a notice posted on the cross. It read: 


Was Pilate mocking the condemned, or mocking the alleged crime? Or does he speak the truth?

Back in John 18, Pilate and Jesus had this conversation.

John 18:33-38

Pilate went back into the Praetorium, summoned Jesus, and asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” “Are you saying this on your own,” Jesus asked, “or did others tell you about Me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My kingdom is not of this realm.” “Then You are a king!” Pilate said. “You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked. 

Jesus was betrayed by a friend, spat upon, beaten, stood silent before His accusers, crucified with thieves, and buried in a rich person’s tomb, fulfilling hundreds of years of prophecies about the Messiah, because He is the Messiah.

Roman soldiers hail Jesus as the king of the Jews, because He is the king of the Jews.

The governor of Judea declares Him innocent of any crimes, because He is innocent of all crimes.

Peter sits and denies he follows Jesus, as Jesus said will happen, while weeping bitter tears of guilt. Meanwhile, two other Christ-deniers, Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and secret follower of Christ, and Nicodemus, who refused to be caught in the daylight talking to Jesus, carry out the will of God by securing His body and burying it in the tomb the prophets spoke of. 

God does things beyond our imagination to show us His glory, such as being our creator who also died for our sins, so we can accept His forgiveness, and forgive each other.

Did Peter sin by denying Christ? Jesus never brought it up again. (But Jesus did ask if Peter loved him 3x after Jesus's resurrection). Did Judas sin by betraying Christ? One wonders if Judas had not have taken his own life - would there have been the same kind of restoration that there was for Peter? Have we sinned today by disobeying Christ? He’ll forgive us if we forgive each other.

We wont always understand what is happening in relation to His will, which can be frustrating, but we know He wants us to see His work in our lives, and accept forgiveness for our sins. We can come to see further than we can imagine we could, and behold God’s glory together.

We pray with the angels,

Holy Holy Holy

Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come.

Amen, and Good Friday! 

Marion Ballard

lent booklet (2)
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