Our Good Friday service is blessed with two powerful Scripture passages.
The first is the final, and most explicit of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant. What first struck me in this reading is the line “He grew up like a sapling.” Oddly, for me it recalls the narrow branches of a fine young tree from the front of my church on Korea. Often, with nothing in the world to do, I’d sit on the church step, leaning to the side against a limb, and I’d marvel at its firm green strength under its thin tan bark. Jesus had that youthful vibrancy before he let the beatings and the spittle turn him into the semblance of a worm.
Our account of the Passion according to John runs through his Chapter 18, and most of 19. I am going to use it for fifteen decades of the Rosary, breaking it down like this:
Capture and High Priest Trial
1. (verse 18:4) Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him.
2. (18:6) When Jesus said, “I am” they all turned and fell to the ground.
3. (18:11) He said, “Shall I not drink the cup my Father gave me?
4. (18:14) It was Caiaphas the high priest who said, “It is better that one man should die, rather than that the whole people should perish.”
5. (18:27) Peter denied he was with Jesus “and immediately the cock crowed.”
Trial Before Pilate
1. (18:28) To avoid defilement so they could eat the Passover, the High Priests did not enter the Praetorium. (John saw th real Passover to consist in Jesus passing through death to Heaven.)
2. (18: 37) “You say that I am a king. For this was I born, to give testimony to the truth.”
3 (18:40) They cried out, “Not this one, but Barrabas.”
4. (19:5) Jesus came out wearing a crown of thorns, and Pilate said, “Behold the man
5. (19:5) Jesus came out wearing a crown of thorns, and Pilate said, “Behold the man
Crucifixion and Death
1. (19:17) Carrying the cross himself he went out. (This echoes Genesis 22 where Isaac carried the wood, and Abraham said, “God himself will provide the sheep.)
2. (19:20) It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews” in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
3. (19:23) They divided his clothes, then cast lots for his tunic. (Echoing Psalm 22.)
4. (19:26-27) “Woman, behold your son.” “Behold your mother.”
5. (19: 33-36) They did not break his bones. They thrust a lance into his side, that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of the lamb will be broken.”