Leigh Hatts  

Good Friday 2020

Bread Ahead hot cross buns in Borough Market

A Good Friday meditation before the crown of thorns will be broadcast live from inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral this morning.

The event is being streamed online by France’s Catholic television station, KTO, from 10:30 to 11:30am.

The Good Friday Liturgy with Pope Francis can be seen on Vatican TV at 5pm.

What happened today

Matthew 27.1-61; Mark 15.1-14; Luke 23.1-56; John 8.29-9.42

Following his arrest late last night, Jesus had no sleep. At first light he appears before the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish court, which has his hands bound before handing him to Roman governor Pontius Pilate.

He sends him to Herod who swiftly returns Jesus to the governor. He asks Jesus: ‘Are you King of the Jews?’ Jesus just says: ‘It is you who say it.’ The chief priests made many accusations but Jesus says nothing more.

Being the Passover, it was usual for the governor to release one prisoner and Pilate suggests that it should be Jesus. However, the crowd watching the exchanges and egged on by the chief priests, calls out the name of Barabbas who is also being held.

‘What am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ asks Pilate and in reply the crowd shouts, ‘Let him be crucified’. They do so again even when Pilate asks them what it is that Jesus has done wrong.

Barabbas is released whilst Jesus is led away by the Roman soldiers. This may all have happened by 8.30am.

The soldiers dress Jesus in a purple robe and put a crown made of thorny twigs on his head. Speaking in Greek they mock him saying: ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ After he has been stripped, tied to a pillar and whipped he is allowed to dress before being led outside the walls of Jerusalem to Golgotha for crucifixion, a common Roman sentence.

Simon, a visitor from Libya, is hailed on the way and ordered to carry the wooden crossbeam weighing about 30lb and needed for the crucifixion.
On top of the high ground at Golgotha there are tall wooden posts and the crossbar was fixed to one to create a cross.

After Jesus has declined a drink of vinegar and myrrh, he is stripped and nailed to the cross by his hands and feet. Being crucified on either side are two robbers. The nails are expertly driven into the hands to prevent the bodies from falling off.

Mark suggests this is as early as 9am. The soldiers stick a notice on top saying ‘King of The Jews’ and then throw dice to decide which of them should have first choice of the prisoner’s garments.

Jesus is mocked by some passers-by.

At 3pm, just before dying after maybe as long as six hours on the cross, he calls out in Aramaic the first line of Psalm 22: ‘My God, my God why have you forsaken me?’

A study of the Sudarium in Oviedo Cathedral suggests that the body of Jesus remains on the cross for another hour. Then it is laid on its right side on the ground for about 45 minutes.

Nicodemus has arrived with myrrh for the body just as the Three Kings had brought myrrh at Jesus’ birth in anticipation of this traumatic moment.

Joseph of Arimathea, who has obtained permission to take care of the body, brings a large linen cloth. At 5pm the body is picked up and carried for about five minutes to a nearby tomb which belonged to Joseph. There it is wrapped in the cloth, possibly the Shroud of Turin, and myrrh is sprinkled on top.

By 6pm darkness is approaching and Mary Magdalene sees the stone rolled across the tomb entrance.

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