Thought to Guide Your ReadingThe Sacrifice that permitted every person's relationship with God to be set right hangs in front of a crowd of God's Chosen People who mock Him ruthlessly.
Summary in 100 Words or LessThe high priests and religious leaders led Jesus to Pilate.
Judas hanged himself out of remorse.
Jesus kept silent through many accusations.
The Jews wanted a murderer to receive mercy but Jesus to receive death. Pilate handed Him over for execution.
The Roman soldiers mocked and nailed Jesus to the Cross.
People mocked Jesus' fate.
When Jesus breathed His last, a great earthquake tore the Temple's curtain in half and brought many people from the dead.
The Roman captain believed that Jesus was the Son of God.
Joseph, from Arimathea, buried Jesus.
The Pharisees sealed and guarded the tomb.
How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right
The Jews officially and irrevocably rejected God as their Lord.From the Exodus, the Jews had a rocky relationship with God. Today we read the culmination of 1500 years of their relationship. There were highs; there were lows. God stayed faithful to His Chosen People all the while. They, on the other hand, struggled to stay wholly for God. At this moment, the climax of the story, Israel has arrested her King, given mercy to a murderer to prevent His release, and now stands before Him and mocks His Authority and Power. This rejection would have world-wide ramifications—which we will read in the days ahead.
Pilate was greatly impressed by Jesus' restraint.Pilate asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews. Jesus was noncommittal. Many people presented false testimony against Jesus. He answered none of them. Pilate was greatly impressed because Jesus did not get down and wrestle with them rhetorically. He allowed His silence to speak for itself. When faced with obviously-false accusations, do not argue. Silence shows innocence more than desperate attempts to defend yourself.
God tore down Temple-based religion.When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple that separated the Holiest of Holies from the rest of the world was ripped—from top to bottom. The Temple was erected because the Israelites did not want God to speak to them directly. God, through Isaiah, told Israel that He would open the Temple to the world. Jesus told the Apostles they would be able to speak directly to God. I will never forget how my professor elaborated on this passage (assuming the "top to bottom" was not random chance), "God ripped the veil from the top to the bottom. In essence He was saying, 'No longer will you need someone to go between us. You can now come to me directly.'" We have direct access to God. We do not need a group of "holy people" to present our needs before Him.
The greatest act of rebellion by Israel became the source of salvation for the world.Without Israel rejecting and executing Jesus, the world would not have the close, personal relationship with God as they have. We should not feel anger or animosity toward them for what they did to Jesus. Paul will spend much of his ministry trying to get that point across.
Oh, God, You have set all things right with Your creation!
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