Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Friday, April 7, 2023

YEAR A 2023 good friday

Good Friday, 2023
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42
Psalm 22

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

As I said on Sunday, the gospel writers spend a lot of time blaming “The Jews” for the death of Jesus.  And we heard it again tonight.  John goes to great lengths to let Pilate off the hook for killing Jesus, leaving The Jews holding the bag.  I just don’t want that to go unmentioned.

What we heard tonight is a story of The Law v. Love.  What is legal v. what is moral.  What is allowed v. doing the right thing.  Selfish v. selfless. 

Everyone in the story is looking for justifications for their actions.  Here is why this man must die, and here is why it is not my fault.  You must be the one to kill this man, because I am not allowed to, or I am not qualified to, or—inexplicably—because I am not a Jew.  Everyone is looking to be exonerated, and everyone is looking to justify their own participation in this violence.

Except for Jesus.

Throughout this reading, Jesus keeps asking the obvious questions, the truthful questions.  An innocent lamb, headed for the slaughter.  Everyone else is trying to justify their own part in the slaying.  But there is no justification; there is no excuse; there is no exoneration.  For any of them, or for any of us.  

The temptation for you and me is to think we would have done things differently.  That we’re on Jesus’ side, unlike the chief priests, and the police, and the governor, and the disciples.  If we had been there, this all would have turned out differently.

Don’t fall into that trap.  Putting ourselves into this story is a fool’s errand.  Because if this is a story about the people around Jesus, and what they did or didn’t do . . . well, you see how that ends.

Look to Jesus.  This is a story about Jesus, not the people looking to be justified.  You and I will play all these other parts at different times in our lives.  Sometimes we accuse, sometimes we deny, sometimes we call out for violence and death.  At one time or another, you and I end up standing in for each and every person in this story, except for one.  There is only one truly righteous person in this story.  Only one whose actions are justified.  Only one who is exonerated.  And by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us, and grant us your peace.


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