Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

 John 18:1-19:42

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. (John 19:41-42)

There you have it. Buried in the garden. The seed has been planted. Remember what Jesus has been telling us. “Unless a grain of wheat falls in the earth and dies….”  As painful as death can be, it has to be this way. 

And so now we end, with beginnings in mind. 

John 18:1- 19:42 NRSV
  1 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.
 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.
 3 So 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.
 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, "Whom are you looking for?"
 5 They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus replied, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
 6 When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they stepped back and fell to the ground.
 7 Again he asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
 8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go."
 9 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?"
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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 is not from this world. If my kingdom were from 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?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, "I find no case against him.
 39 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 bandit.

NRS  John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.
 2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe.
 3 They kept coming up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and striking him on the face.
 4 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."
 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
 6 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."
 7 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."
 8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.
 9 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 the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor."
 13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge's bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew 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 the emperor."
 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. 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 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, 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, 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.
 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 that he tells the truth.)
 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."
 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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

Today is Maundy Thursday. The word Maundy is derived from a Latin word meaning commandment. While we recall that this is the day of Jesus’ final meal with his disciples in which he instructed them to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of him, we also recall that it is the day that he offered his parting instructions: “Love as I have loved you.”

When Jesus speaks of love, he’s not talking about an emotion. Rather, he’s talking about an approach to life. To love as Jesus has loved is to give ourselves away in humble service. Hopefully by now, you’re coming to see that the only way to assume this posture in life is to bury all of the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors that seek to draw us inward. Peter was shocked and dismayed that Jesus would assume the role of a foot washing servant. It was below the dignity of a respectable rabbi and friend. And yet Jesus says that this is the way it must be. To hell with pride and proper protocol. Love requires this.

John 13:1-17, 31b-35
1 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper
 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,
 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.
 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
 7 Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
 8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me."
 9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
 10 Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you."
 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."
 12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?
 13 You call me Teacher and Lord-- and you are right, for that is what I am.
 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.
 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
 31 Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.
 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.
 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'
 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

John 12:27-36

"Now my soul is troubled.” (John 12:27)

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “the crux of the matter”? It’s an idiom meant to describe the heart or central point of an issue. The word crux is Latin from cross. In English the word describes difficulty. From a Christian point of view, those two definitions are not inseparable.

As Jesus makes his way to the cross, we catch glimpses of very real humanity. Today he expresses the internal struggle he has going on as he faces the task ahead of him. He is troubled to his very core as he heads toward “the crux of the matter.”  

Tomorrow, our Lenten observance leads us to the crux of the matter in what is known as the Three Days. This is what the Lenten path has led us to: the cross. As we prepare to enter these days, what is the path that you are on that is leading from death to life? How is it troubling you? What has you fearful? Know that you’re not alone! We journey with one who knows our fears and is leading to new life.

 John 12:27-36 NRSV
 27 "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.
 28 Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
 30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.
 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
 34 The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
 35 Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going.
 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

John 12:20-26

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." (John 12:20-21)

If someone were to say to you, “Sir/Madam, I wish to see Jesus,” what would you do? Where would you take them? Where would you point and say, “There he is!”? 

Notice Jesus’ response when the request of the Greeks reached him. He said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” In John’s Gospel, “glory” is symbolic language for Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus is glorified in his death. When the world starts asking to see Jesus, he says, “You can find me on the cross.”

While our knee-jerk reaction is to look for Jesus in happy, joy-filled places, the cross is where Jesus is both hidden and revealed. This is what Martin Luther referred to as a “theology of the cross.” To see Jesus on the cross is to see a God who enters our pain and despair and brings us from death to life. 

 John 12:20-26 NRSV
 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.
 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
 23 Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

Monday, April 14, 2014

John 12:1-11

The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)

A sacrifice costs us something. When we make a sacrifice, we are giving away something valuable. John tells us that Mary used an entire pound of costly perfume made of nard to anoint Jesus’ feet. One can understand Judas’ complaint that this was a wasteful act. One pound just for Jesus’ feet? Surely the expensive pedicure was a little excessive. And yet, that’s the nature of sacrifice. It’s costly, excessive, and deadly. When God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac, two deaths were actually required: the physical death of Isaac, and the death of all of Abraham’s hopes and dreams. When we sacrifice, we give up something precious for a greater cause. Fortunately, Abraham and Isaac were spared this tragedy when God saw Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice. But here’s the thing about sacrifice, it is accompanied by a pleasing fragrance. Several times in the book of Leviticus, the sacrifice is described as “an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord.” Mary’s ointment filled the room with its fragrance. This week, with Jesus we make our way to the cross to die. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God …” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)

John 12:1-11 NRSV
 1 Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
 5 "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?"
 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
 7 Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
 9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well,
 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.