Reading: Matt. 27:1-62, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:63-23:50, John 18:28-19:37
What’s so good about it? I’ve often wondered where in the world did someone come up with Good Friday if this is to represent the day Jesus was crucified? In today’s reading, the chief priests and the elders delivered Jesus over to Pilate to be crucified. Before that Jesus was beaten, mocked, spit on and humiliated by the soldiers. The term used is scourged. The soldiers would take a whip that had shards of glass or sharp rocks tied on the ends of it. They would hurl it at Jesus’ body and when it would hit Him it would tear the flesh right off of Him as they pulled the whip back. They blindfolded Him and kept asking him to prophesy who was hitting Him. They twisted together a crown of thorns and pressed it on His head.
When He was delivered to Pilate he questioned Him and could not find fault in Him. Pilate sends Jesus to Herod to be questioned because he thought then he would not have to make this decision. Pilate realizes that Herod is not going to decide for him and Jesus is brought back to him to decide. It was a custom to release one prisoner to the Jews during the time of Passover. Pilate, because He found no fault in Jesus offered up a criminal Barabbus. I think he offered Barabbus because maybe that was the most hardened criminal he had and he thought there was no way they would choose to release Barabbus over Jesus. This was his out. However the crowd chooses for Barabbus to be released. Pilate then washes his hands in front of the crowd and says His blood is on you. (Matt 27:24)
Meanwhile the very same people who had shouted Hosanna just days before were now shouting crucify him. They led Jesus away, He had been beaten, scourged, whipped, humiliated, the crown of thorns were pressed onto His head and He was nailed to a cross to die the most painful death imaginable.
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” Matthew 27:50-51 ESV
I have often when reading this passage thought of God taking his holy hands and grasping the curtain to the temple and ripping it from top to bottom. This curtain is the curtain which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place was where Gods presence dwelled. The high priest could only enter the Most Holy Place one day a year. And now the veil was torn from top to bottom. On that day, at that time, the veil was torn so that we could now approach the throne of God forevermore.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV