It was a good Friday
April 15, 2022 | Dave Gall
About the author: Dave Gall and his wife Joan are long time members of ZPC (since 1985). Dave has served as an Elder and Deacon. He has been active on the Mission Commission, Mission Finance Committee as well as several Pastoral search committees. Since 1996 he has been active with ZPC’s missions in Romania having traveled to Romania more than 60 times. Joan and Dave have three sons and 8 grandchildren who live in the Zionsville area.
Today's Scripture: John 15:1-20
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so, “Jesus replied.
The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
“Crucify him!” they shouted. “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
Here the power of heaven faced the power of Rome. The Sanhedrin had legalized the sentence of the night before, but they had no power to carry it out. Jesus had to be condemned by a Roman court. Pilate was not interested in religion and so he asked him the only question that was of interest to him as a representative of Rome. Jesus did not deny his kingship; he only showed that it was completely different from this world’s idea of kingship. As he had accepted the other charges by the high priest; he accepted the charge by Pilate. Pilate could not have believed that Jesus' kingship was any threat to Rome or else he would have acted on it at once.
It seems as if half the crowd had no special interest in Jesus at all; they were simply there in the hope of getting the governor to release a well known freedom fighter, Barabbas. The chief priests had no interest in Barabbas. They intended to use Barabbas as part of a scheme to secure Jesus’ condemnation. Traditionally, on national or religious occasions, the society provided an amnesty for prisoners. Pilate saw this as a way of escaping an awkward situation; the crowd saw it as a chance of getting their hero back; and the chief priests saw it as a way of getting a sentence for Jesus. So all the parties were “successful.”
So in the end everyone, including Jesus, was successful and the power of heaven prevailed. It was a Good Friday.
Amazing and all loving God,
We mourn for the evil of mankind two thousand years ago and for evil today. Humanity's dark side is so pervasive but your love is greater and so much more powerful. We thank you for the love that you showed us when you gave your son to die on the cross to free us from our darkness. We ask you to give us courage to be more like you each day.
In Christ's name we pray.