Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday of Holy Pascha Week

On Friday of Holy Pascha Week, our Lord Jesus Christ endured trials and

{Jesus before Pilate}

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. So Pilate went out to
them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?" They
answered, "If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him
over to you." 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." (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated
the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him,
"Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your
own, or did others tell you about me?" 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?"

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." 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." Pilate asked him, "What is truth?"

{Jesus Sentenced to Death}

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, "I find
no case against him. 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

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of
thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They
kept coming up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and striking him on
the face. 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." So Jesus came
out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them,
"Here is the man!"
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." 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." Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He
entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But
Jesus gave him no answer. 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?" 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." 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." 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. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover;
and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, "Here is your King!" 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." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus}

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what
is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha . There
they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus
between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." 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. 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.'" Pilate answered, "What I have
written I have written." 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. 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." 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. When Jesus saw
his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to
his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here
is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that
all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am
thirsty." 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. When Jesus
had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and
gave up his spirit.

Jesus' Side Is Pierced}

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. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs
of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they
came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once
blood and water came out. He who saw this has testified so that you also may
believe. His testimony is true, and he knows These things occurred so that
the scripture might be fulfilled, "None of his bones shall be broken." And
again another passage of scripture says, "They will look on the one whom
they hve pierced."

{The Burial of Jesus}

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. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came,
bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They
took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths,
according to the burial
custom of the Jews. 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. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the
tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 18:28-19:42)

Some of them, moreover˜[when they predicted that] as a weak and inglorious
man, and as one who knew what it was to bear infirmity, and sitting upon the
foal of an ass, He should come to Jerusalem; and that He should give His
back to stripes, and His cheeks to palms [which struck Him]; and that He
should be led as a sheep to the slaughter; and that He should have vinegar
and gall given Him to drink; and that He should be forsaken by His friends
and those nearest to Him; and that He should stretch forth His hands the
whole day long; and that He should be mocked and maligned by those who
looked upon Him; and that His garments should be parted, and lots cast upon
His raiment; and that He should be brought down to the dust of death with
all [the other] things of a like nature˜prophesied His coming in the
character of a man as He entered Jerusalem , in which by His passion and
crucifixion He endured all the things which have
been mentioned. Others, again, when they said, „The holy Lord remembered His
own dead ones who slept in the dust, and came down to them to raise them up,
that He might save them,‰ furnished us with the reason on account of which
He suffered all these things. Those, moreover, who said, „In that day, says
the Lord, the sun shall go down at noon, and there shall be darkness over
the earth in the clear day; and I will turn your feast days into mourning,
and all your songs
into lamentation,‰ plainly announced that obscuration of the sun which at
the time of His crucifixion took place from the sixth hour onwards, and that
after this event, those days which were their festivals according to the
law, and their songs, should be changed into grief and lamentation when they
were handed over to the Gentiles. ˆ Irenaeus

"As [the women] were 'looking on,' so we too gaze at 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 richly 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." ˆ Augustine (On Virginity)

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters in hung upon the cross. He who
is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns. He who wraps the
heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery...We venerate your
passion, O Christ. Show us also your glorious Resurrection. ˆ Cyril of

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