Prayer: Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold tis your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lessons: Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Psalm 22 John 18:1-19:42
He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. (Is 53:3)
These words read on Good Friday in conjunction with John’s account of our Lord’s passion, though written nearly 600 years before the birth of Jesus, describe perfectly the reaction of those in power on seeing Christ, beaten and bruised and bleeding, crowned with thorns, wearing a purple robe of cruelty and mockery.
Pilate brought Jesus before them and exclaimed, “Ecce Homo!” or “Behold the man!” Look! See him. I find no case against him. I have had him flogged. He’s been ridiculed. What more do you want?
It was Pilate’s hope that when they saw the condition Jesus was in, when they ‘beheld the man,’ weak and struggling to stand or even breath, they would get past their desire to put him to death. His hope was in vain. The Chief priests and police all cry out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” No sympathy! No empathy! No compassion! They despised Him and held Him of no account.
The problem wasn’t only that they failed to recognize the divinity of Christ. They failed even to recognize his humanity. Perhaps, if they could have seen him as the person he was, they would have eventually recognized him as their Lord of their lives.
On this Good Friday, during this pandemic, as we find ourselves socially distancing and isolated and unable to celebrate Holy Week as we normally do, together in our churches, let’s pray for the grace to see through our present weakness and vulnerability to behold the humanity and dignity with which we were created and the presence of Christ’s love in our hearts.