Context: Jesus and his disciples leave the upper room where they celebrated the Passover supper and travel to the Garden of Gethsemane which they had frequented before. This time Judas arrives with the soldiers of the Jewish officials and Jesus is arrested. In the process, Peter draws his sword and cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant, but Jesus heals him (recorded in Mark). Study the two maps … the first will show the movements of the disciples from the Upper Room to the Garden. The second highlights the movement and progression of Jesus’ trials and Peter’s denials. In private conversation with Pilate, Jesus eventually acknowledges he is a king, but his kingdom is not of this world. ‘For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate’s response is quite fascinating. Though he does not want to sentence Jesus, he gives the Jews a chance to release him or Barabbas.
Observations: What emotions did Jesus have when Judas arrived with the soldiers and orchestrated the arrest? What does Jesus’ rebuke of Peter’s action and the subsequent healing of the servant tell us about Jesus? Why do you think there were so many trials? None of them were ‘legal’ according to Jewish law. Why was Pontius Pilate so loathe to convict and sentence Jesus? How does Jesus’ response to Pilate about testifying to the truth relate to us today? Does Pilate’s response, ‘What is truth,’ reflect a common thread with our culture today?
Application: Take some time if at all possible between Noon – 3 p.m. to reflect on the Cross and the Crucifixion. Read some of the passages related to it. If truth is in Jesus, how should that help us navigate through our culture’s shifting sands of morality and perspectives? Worship Jesus today by reflecting on his ‘dark night of the soul’ and subsequent arrest. Imagine how lonely and abandoned he would have felt … thank him for going through that for you and us.
Prayer: Lord, never let me take the Cross for granted. Help me put it on the forefront of my mind today and internalize why it is called ‘Good Friday.’