IT IS FINISHED

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FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD ( (GOOD FRIDAY)

FIRST READING

ISAIAH  52:13–53:12

5213Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.14As many were astonished at him — his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men — 15so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.531Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.8By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?9And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand; 11he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.12Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

PSALMS 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25

1In thee, O LORD, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in thy righteousness deliver me! 5Into thy hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. 11I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbours, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. 12I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. 14But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” 15My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! 16Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love! 24Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

SECOND READING

HEBREWS 4:14-16; 5:7-9

414Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15For we have not 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.16Let 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.57In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear.8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;9and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

GOSPEL
JOHN  18:1–19:42

181When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.6When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” 10Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?” 12So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. 13First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year. 14It was Ca’iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 15Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, 16while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17The maid who kept the door said to Peter, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. 19The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Annas then sent him bound to Ca’iaphas the high priest. 25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”26One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed. 28Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca’iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.” 31Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” 32This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die. 33Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” 37Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” 38Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him.39But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?”40They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barab’bas!” Now Barab’bas was a robber.191Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. 2And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; 3they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4Pilate went out again, and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” 7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;9he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”11Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.” 12Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” 13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab’batha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. 17So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, `The King of the Jews,’ but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; 24so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture, “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” 25So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.28After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.”29A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe. 36For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” 37And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.” 38After this Joseph of Arimathe’a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.39Nicode’mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.40They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. 42So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

MEDITATION

 The cross brings us face to face with Jesus’ suffering. He was alone – all his disciples had deserted him except for his mother and three women along with John, the beloved disciple. And his death was agonizing and humiliating. Normally a crucified man could last for several days on a cross. Jesus’ had already been scourged, beaten with rods, and a crown of thorns pressed into his skull. It is no wonder that he died mid-afternoon. Pilate publicly heralded Jesus “The King of the Jews” as he died upon the cross, no doubt to irritate and annoy the chief priests and Pharisees (John 19:19).

Jesus was crucified for his claim to be King. The Jews had understood that the Messiah would come as their king to establish God’s reign for them. They wanted a king who would free them from tyranny and foreign domination. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the Messianic king. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed to have. Jesus came to conquer hearts and souls for an imperishable kingdom, rather than to conquer perishable lands and entitlements.

Jesus’ death on the cross defeated sin and death for us
We can find no greater proof of God’s love for us than the willing sacrifice of his Son on the cross. Jesus’ parting words, “It is finished!”express triumph rather than defeat. Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit knowing that the strife was now over and the battle was won. Even on the cross Jesus knew the joy of victory. What the Father sent him into the world to do has now been accomplished.

Christ offered himself without blemish to God and he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (see Hebrews 9:24-26).

As we gaze on his wounds – we touch the scars of his resurrection
While the close company of Jesus’ disciples – his apostles – had deserted him and hid out of fear from the Jewish authorities, Jesus’ mother and some of the women who were close to Jesus stood close to him while he hung upon the cross. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D) in his sermon on John’s passion account focuses on the gaze of the women who witnessed the shedding of his blood and the offering of his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Augustine invites us to present ourselves before Jesus crucified who took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. Through the eyes of faith we, too, gaze upon the bloodied body of our Redeemer who paid the price for our sins – and we touch the scars of his resurrection who defeated death for our sake so that we may know the victory of his cross and resurrection and receive the promise of everlasting life and glory with him in his kingdom:

“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as he dies. We see the price offered by the redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection.  He bows his head, as if to kiss you.  His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that he may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so he may now be fixed in every part of your soul.”

The miracle of my salvation
In the cross of Christ we see the triumph of Jesus over his enemies – sin, Satan, and death. Christian writers down through the centuries have sung the praises of the Cross of Christ. Paul the Apostle exclaimed, “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world, and do for all men what the rennet does for the milk: joining us and binding us together.

“The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom.”

The throne of love and sign of God’s mercy
The Cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is also the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. By his cross Jesus Christ has pardoned us and set us free from the tyranny of sin. He paid the price for us when he made atonement for our sins. The way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God and the way to victory over sin and corruption, fear and defeat, despair and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Do you follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross with joy, hope, and confidence?

“Lord Jesus Christ, by your death on the cross you have won pardon for us and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death. May I live in the joy and freedom of your victory over sin and death.”

“As evening drew near, the Lord yielded up His soul upon the cross in the certainty of receiving it back again. It was not wrested from Him against His will. But we too were represented there. Christ had nothing to hang upon the cross except the body He had received from us. And in doing so He nailed our human weakness to the cross.”

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