Welcome and Thanks for joining us for a special Good Friday edition of our Friday DIVE Bible study.  

Tonight, we commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion and death and we reflect on events that happened on the day Jesus Christ, our Saviour, died on our behalf.   This day is a somber one, traditionally held with an attitude of contemplation and solemnity, and we can pause to consider the many questions raised by Jesus’ crucifixion.    

Today’s theme follows the trajectory of events Jesus went through: betrayal, denial, trial, death.

The readings from the Revised Common Lectionary focus on life and death, forgiveness and guilt, as well as an awareness and awe for the complexity of being both human and divine as reflected in Jesus’ passion.  The selected passages are …

    • Psalm 22:1-31 is a lament, followed by praising God for his deliverance, and is often connected prophetically with Jesus’ crucifixion.
    • Isaiah 52:13-53:12 speaks of a suffering servant, again foreshadowing Jesus’ betrayal and mistreatment.
    • Hebrews 10:16-25 tells of the new covenant, written in our hearts and minds, and names Jesus as our great priest.
    • The sermon text from John 18:1-19:42 covers Jesus’ passion, and we’ll reflect on what the cross reveals about Jesus and us.


From the GCI Home Office …

A special video presentation on GOOD FRIDAY …

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Also from the GCI Home Office …


What the Cross Reveals

John 18:1-19:42


We’re gathered today to contemplate Jesus’ betrayal, his disciples’ denial, the mockery of his trial, and ultimately, his death on the cross.  But Jesus was not the first person to be crucified.  History tells us that the barbaric practice probably began with the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians in the sixth century BC. Alexander the Great is credited with bringing crucifixion to eastern Mediterranean countries in the fourth century BC.  But it was the Romans who perfected this method of execution after they discovered it during the third century’s Punic Wars.

Ancient historian Josephus writes about mass crucifixions in the Holy Land during the first century AD, and other historical reports talk about the roads into Jerusalem being lined with crosses and bodies.  We can imagine what the people of Jesus’ day felt, living in a world where crucifixion was commonplace: intimidated, hopeless, powerless.  The crosses reinforced the Roman oppression with their unspoken threats: “If you step out of line, this could happen to you.”

That’s why Jesus’ disciples and other followers hoped Jesus would help them overthrow their Roman oppressors.  They had no idea that he would die on one of those crosses.  His followers lost their Teacher and Friend, as well as their hope for the future.  They were mourning the way they thought things were going to turn out.  They didn’t have the luxury of hindsight like we do, and it’s helpful to remember that as we look at the events of Good Friday.

Let’s read our sermon text from John 18, beginning in verse 1 and concluding in chapter 19, verse 42.  As you listen to the reading, notice our themes of Betrayal, Denial, Trial, and Death.

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested 

John 18:1-11

After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.

Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.

“Jesus the Nazarene,”[a] they replied.

I am he,”[b] Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

“I told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”[c]

10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”

Jesus at the High Priest’s House 

John 18:12-14

12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they took him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.[d] 14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”  

Peter’s First Denial  

  John 18:15-18

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. 16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. 17 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?”

“No,” he said, “I am not.”

18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.  

The High Priest Questions Jesus  

John 18:19-24

19 Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. 20 Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people[e] gather. I have not spoken in secret. 21 Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.”

22 Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23 Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?”

24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.  

Peter’s Second and Third Denials   

John 18:25-27

25 Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.”

26 But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.   

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

John 18:28-40

28 Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor.[f] His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. 29 So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?”

30 “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted.

31 “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them.

“Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. 32 (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die.[g])

33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him.

34 Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. 39 But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?”

40 But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)   

Jesus Sentenced to Death  

John 19:1-16

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.

Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters[h] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”

11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’[i] Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”

13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). 14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people,[j] “Look, here is your king!”

15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”

“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.

16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.    

The Crucifixion  

John 19:17-27

So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). 18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[k] the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.

21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”

22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice[l] for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.”[m] So that is what they did.

25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. 

The Death of Jesus   

John 19:28-37

28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”[n] 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.[o]) 36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”  37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus   

John 19:38-42

38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds[r] of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. 40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. 41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. 42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover[s] and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.  


As we reflect on the story of Jesus’ betrayal, the disciples’ denial, the trial, and Jesus’ death, we can glean insights as to what the cross reveals about Jesus and what it reveals about us.


What the Cross Reveals About Jesus     

The cross shows that Jesus was in charge of his life and death. In John 10:18, Jesus said,

No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father. (John 10:18, NRSVUE)

We can consider the events in our sermon text and how Jesus maintained the upper hand in all interactions:

    • In the garden, Jesus didn’t try to run away but walked out to meet the armed soldiers who were there to arrest him and identified himself (John 18:4).
    • When Jesus asked why they were questioning him when all of his teaching had been done publicly, a guard struck him.  In response, Jesus refused to be intimidated and asserted that he had spoken truthfully (John 18:19, 24).
    • During his trial, Jesus refused to answer Pilate directly, and instead, took control by asking him questions (John 18:24).  When Pilate tried to claim his preeminence and power over Jesus, Jesus told him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given from above” (John 19:11).
    • In John’s gospel, Jesus carried his cross by himself (John 19:17).
    • Jesus appeared to be in charge of the moment of his death, saying, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Though Jesus allowed himself to be killed, the cross was not a passive choice or a sign of defeat.  As author Debie Thomas writes, “The cross is about shaking things up.  About rattling the system to its core.  About confronting sin with the power of grace, love, and surrender.

What the cross reveals about us      

Jesus unveils our human “poison” through the cross by showing the potential for evil in any humanly constructed system.  We are forced to see the pain we cause others through our inability to love, our preoccupation with violence and sexual objectification, our discomfort for difference and propensity to hate anyone not like us, and our rush to judge and condemn those who suffer. Jesus asks us to bear what he bore on the cross, such as hatred and contempt. Consider what the cross says about us:

    • The cross declares Jesus’ solidarity with us forever, but especially with those who suffer oppression, violence, wrongful imprisonment, abandonment, or murder.
    • The cross reveals how our God through Jesus took one of the most violent methods of execution and death and changed it for us at great cost to mean resurrection.
    • The cross means that we see Christ crucified in any suffering, and we respond by trying to help others.
    • The cross requires our acceptance that we, too, will die, and so we must live in a manner that speaks resurrection and hope.
    • By its mystery, the cross compels us to love God and each other.

Professor of Preaching at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Gennifer Benjamin Brooks writes, “God gives us power to face every circumstance. Jesus, the all-powerful God in human flesh, is our model. He trusted in the power of God to bring him through this death-dealing situation and so can we.” As we reflect on this Good Friday, we can see how Emmanuel, “God With Us,” is exemplified in the cross, and we offer our heartfelt gratitude to Jesus for his solidarity with us.




Psalm 22:1-32

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?  Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? 
O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. 

But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. 
Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them.
They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 

8 “He [c]trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”  

9 But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.  

10 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.  
11 Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help.

12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
13 They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint;  My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.  
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws;  You have brought Me to the dust of death. 

16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet; 
17 I can count all My bones.  They look and stare at Me.  
18 They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. 

19 But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.
21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen!  You have answered Me.  

22 I will declare Your name to My brethren;  In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him!  All you [h]descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,  And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;  
Nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard.  

25 My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LordLet your heart live forever!  

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship;  All those who go down to [k]the dust
Shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive.  

30 A posterity shall serve Him.  It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,  
31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.  

Isaiah 52:13-53:12  NKJV  

13 Behold, My Servant shall [a]deal prudently; He shall be exalted and [b]extolled and be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage[c] was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men;  
15 So shall He [d]sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.  

Isaiah 53:1-12  

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground.

He has no [e]form or [f]comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no [g]beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and [h]rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with [j]grief.  And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  

Surely He has borne our [k]griefs and carried our [l]sorrows; Yet we [m]esteemed Him stricken, [n]Smitten by God, and afflicted.  
But He was wounded[o] for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord [r]has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.  
He was taken from [s]prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.  
And [t]they made His grave with the wicked — but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.  

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to [u]bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.  By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.  





The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

18 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.  Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place because Jesus often met there with his disciplesSo Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.  Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” 

They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”[a] 

Jesus replied, “I am he.”[b] 

Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus[c] said to them, “I am he,”[d] they stepped back and fell to the ground.  

Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”    

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”[e]  

8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he.[f]  So if you are looking for me, let these people go.”  This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 

10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.  The slave’s name was Malchus.  11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath.  Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”   



John 18:12-Jesus before the High Priest

12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.   14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.   


Peter Denies Jesus

15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing outside at the gate.  So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in.  17 The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?”  He said, “I am not.”  18 Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves.  Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.  


The High Priest Questions Jesus

19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.  20 Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.  21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”  24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.  


Peter Denies Jesus Again

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.  They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?”  He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”  27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed. 


Jesus before Pilate

28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.  It was early in the morning.  They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover.  29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”  30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”  31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”  The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”  32 (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”  35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I?  Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me.  What have you done?”  36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”  37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?”  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  38 Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”   


Jesus Sentenced to Death

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover.  Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”  40 They shouted in reply, “Not this man but Barabbas!”  Now Barabbas was a rebel.  

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him floggedAnd the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe.  They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face.  Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.”  So Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate[g] said to them, “Behold the man!”  When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”  Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.”  The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.  He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?”  But Jesus gave him no answer.  10 Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me?  Do you not know that I have power to release you and power to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”  12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar.  Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against Caesar.”  

13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat[h] on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew[i]  Gabbatha.  14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover, and it was about noon.  He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!”  15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!”  Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”  The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”  16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.  



The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus, 17 and carrying the cross by himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[j] is called Golgotha.  18 There they crucified him and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.  19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[k] the King of the Jews.”  20 Many of the Jews read this inscription because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew,[l] in Latin, and in Greek.  

21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ”  22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier.  They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.  24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it but cast lots for it to see who will get it.”  This was to fulfill what the scripture says,  

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”   

25 And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”  And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.  

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.”  29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there.  So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.”  Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.   


Jesus’s Side Is Pierced

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the Sabbath, especially because that Sabbath was a day of great solemnity.  So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed.  32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.  33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 

35 (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows[m] that he tells the truth, so that you also may continue[n] to believe.)  36 These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.”  37 And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”   


The Burial of Jesus 

38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus.  Pilate gave him permission, so he came and removed his body.  39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.  40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.  41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.  42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.  



Small Group Discussion Questions

  • Imagine yourself living in the Holy Land at the time of Jesus.  How would you feel, living under Roman rule and observing their cruel executions of anyone who tried to thwart the Roman government?
  • Those who followed Jesus hoped he would overthrow the Roman government and set up righteous rulership.  When Jesus died, not only did they lose their Teacher and Friend but also their hope that their world might be different.   Based on your experience, why is hope so important to human beings?
  • Thinking about the list of ways Jesus showed he was in charge of his life and death in the story of the Passion, which one speaks the most to you?
  • Why?
  • In considering what the cross reveals about us, what aspect do you find most surprising?
  • Why?   



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