Today’s passage is taken from the liturgical service for Great and Holy Friday. There’s no reflection. Just meditate on the story. ~ Br. Jack+, LC
After he said these things, Jesus went out with his disciples and crossed over to the other side of the Kidron Valley. He and his disciples entered a garden there. Judas, his betrayer, also knew the place because Jesus often gathered there with his disciples. Judas brought a company of soldiers and some guards from the chief priests and Pharisees. They came there carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus knew everything that was to happen to him, so he went out and asked, “Who are you looking for?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
He said to them, “I Am.” (Judas, his betrayer, was standing with them.) When he said, “I Am,” they shrank back and fell to the ground. He asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
Jesus answered, “I told you, ‘I Am.’ If you are looking for me, then let these people go.” This was so that the word he had spoken might be fulfilled: “I didn’t lose anyone of those whom you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the guards from the Jewish leaders took Jesus into custody. They bound him and led him first to Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. (Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it was better for one person to die for the people.)
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Because this other disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard. However, Peter stood outside near the gate. Then the other disciple (the one known to the high priest) came out and spoke to the woman stationed at the gate, and she brought Peter in. The servant woman stationed at the gate asked Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”
“I’m not,” he replied. The servants and the guards had made a fire because it was cold. They were standing around it, warming themselves. Peter joined them there, standing by the fire and warming himself.
Meanwhile, the chief priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly to the world. I’ve always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews gather. I’ve said nothing in private. Why ask me? Ask those who heard what I told them. They know what I said.”
After Jesus spoke, one of the guards standing there slapped Jesus in the face. “Is that how you would answer the high priest?” he asked.
Jesus replied, “If I speak wrongly, testify about what was wrong. But if I speak correctly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing with the guards, warming himself. They asked, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
Peter denied it, saying, “I’m not.”
A servant of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said to him, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.
The Jewish leaders led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early in the morning. So that they could eat the Passover, the Jewish leaders wouldn’t enter the palace; entering the palace would have made them ritually impure.
So Pilate went out to them and asked, “What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered, “If he had done nothing wrong, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.”
Pilate responded, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your Law.”
The Jewish leaders replied, “The Law doesn’t allow us to kill anyone.” (This was so that Jesus’ word might be fulfilled when he indicated how he was going to die.)
Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”
Pilate responded, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.”
“So you are a king?” Pilate said.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”
“What is truth?” Pilate asked.
After Pilate said this, he returned to the Jewish leaders and said, “I find no grounds for any charge against him. You have a custom that I release one prisoner for you at Passover. Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?”
They shouted, “Not this man! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas was an outlaw.)
Then Pilate had Jesus taken and whipped. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. Over and over they went up to him and said, “Greetings, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
Pilate came out of the palace again and said to the Jewish leaders, “Look! I’m bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no grounds for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here’s the man.”
When the chief priests and their deputies saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify, crucify!”
Pilate told them, “You take him and crucify him. I don’t find any grounds for a charge against him.”
The Jewish leaders replied, “We have a Law, and according to this Law he ought to die because he made himself out to be God’s Son.”
When Pilate heard this word, he was even more afraid. He went back into the residence and spoke to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus didn’t answer. So Pilate said, “You won’t speak to me? Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and also to crucify you?”
Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me if it had not been given to you from above. That’s why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” From that moment on, Pilate wanted to release Jesus.
However, the Jewish leaders cried out, saying, “If you release this man, you aren’t a friend of the emperor! Anyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes the emperor!”
When Pilate heard these words, he led Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench at the place called Stone Pavement (in Aramaic, Gabbatha). It was about noon on the Preparation Day for the Passover. Pilate said to the Jewish leaders, “Here’s your king.”
The Jewish leaders cried out, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate responded, “What? Do you want me to crucify your king?”
“We have no king except the emperor,” the chief priests answered. Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.
The soldiers took Jesus prisoner. Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to a place called Skull Place (in Aramaic, Golgotha). That’s where they crucified him—and two others with him, one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a public notice written and posted on the cross. It read “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Therefore, the Jewish chief priests complained to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The king of the Jews’ but ‘This man said, “I am the king of the Jews.”’”
Pilate answered, “What I’ve written, I’ve written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and his sandals, and divided them into four shares, one for each soldier. His shirt was seamless, woven as one piece from the top to the bottom. They said to each other, “Let’s not tear it. Let’s cast lots to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill the scripture,
They divided my clothes among themselves,
and they cast lots for my clothing.
That’s what the soldiers did.
Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.
It was the Preparation Day and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath, especially since that Sabbath was an important day. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of those crucified broken and the bodies taken down. Therefore, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who were crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead so they didn’t break his legs. However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. The one who saw this has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he speaks the truth, and he has testified so that you also can believe. These things happened to fulfill the scripture, They won’t break any of his bones. And another scripture says, They will look at him whom they have pierced.