Day Forty five, Good Friday
Is there any hope for us?
John 18: 1-19, 42
After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus replied, “I am he.”
Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesush said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.
The time has come. The s**t has hit the fan. The Chief Priests have had an arrest warrant out for Jesus and a bounty has been placed on him. Judas betrays Jesus and the police come for him.
Peter, impetuously tries to defend Jesus, cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus tells Peter to knock it off. And the armed guards of the high priest take Jesus off to the high priest’s courtyard where Peter, for the first time, denies that he knows Jesus.
Don’t we follow Peter’s example and deny Jesus all the time? Every time we choose the ego over the Spirit we deny Jesus’ teachings. Every time we are confronted with the choice of looking out for ourselves or doing what Love would have us do, we usually look out for ourselves. If the scenario weren’t so deadly, it would be comedic.
All through Lent we have been asked to make a choice ten or more times a day between the ego and the spirit and if we are honest we have to admit that most of the time we’ve chosen the ego. We’ve done this out of habit more than making a conscious choice and yet this is what this whole story is trying to teach us - that we have a choice between the ego and the spirit.
Jesus chooses the spirit while Judas, Peter, the high priest and his henchmen have chosen the ego. Which would we have chosen? Which do we choose many times every day?
Jesus tells his disciples to stand down. Things will be all okay in the end, but the drama of the ego has to play out. It is in pointing out this choice that we call this day, “Good” Friday. It is good, indeed, to know that the suffering, the tragedy, the angst of the ego is illusory and not really real. It is stuff we must deal with and are challenged by which leads us to have to decide if we will think of ourselves as victims of circumstance or agents of miraculous transformation in Spirit.
We are seeing what choice Jesus made. If He can do it, maybe there’s hope for us.