16 The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. 17 They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. 18 They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him. 21 They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Continue reading
32 Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. 34 Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” 35 He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; 36 he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” 37 When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” 39 Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. 40 Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. 41 He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. 42 Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.” Continue reading
During the recent NCAA basketball tournament, it was interesting to see South Carolina makes its run all the way to the Final Four. The coach, Frank Martin, just seems to me to be a wonderful blend of “old school” and yet able to connect so closely with his players. I can only imagine what his halftime speeches were like. I also suspect they were straight forward – “you’re ready,” “you know what it yours to do.” I am sure there were X’s and O’s, but at the heart of it all, he pointed to the road that brought them to this point in time, he reminded them what they had achieved, that they were prepared, and to now it was time to answer the call. “You are ready!” Continue reading
The King Is Scourged and Mocked (27:26-31a) The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website.
Where the religious trial ends by mocking Jesus as the Christ, the secular trial ends with Jesus being mocked as king with a scarlet cloak (a soldier’s cape) parodying the emperor’s purple robe, a reed representing a royal scepter, and the crown of thorns. Jesus is thus enthroned as king, and offered the homage of kneeling which a Hellenistic ruler required. In this scene Matthew continues to redefine what kingship means. If this scene is a coronation, then the cross will be the throne. Continue reading
Introduction to The Lucan Passion Narrative: The passion narratives provide the climax for each of the four gospels, catching up themes that weave their way through the evangelists’ entire portrayal of Jesus life and bringing them to a dramatic completion. In deft strokes the evangelists tell us of the final hours of Jesus’ life – his last meal with his disciples; his arrest in Gethsemane; his interrogation by the religious leaders; the trial before Pilate; and finally the heart clutching scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial. Continue reading
As Jesus hung on the cross, he uttered seven last words of great meaning to those who contemplate his passion and death. Here on Good Friday reflect on these words.