SIXTH MIDWEEK LENTEN SERVICE
SERMON TEXT: John 19:12-16a
From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
FIRST LESSON: Luke 23:26-56 (EHB)
When they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country. They placed the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of the people was following him, including women who were mourning and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Be sure of this: the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things to the green wood, what will happen to the dry?” Two other men, who were criminals, were led away with him to be executed. When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” They were casting lots to divide his garments among them. The people stood watching. And even the rulers were ridiculing him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, the chosen one!”
The soldiers also made fun of him, coming up to him and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription written above him: “This is the king of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging there was blaspheming him, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same condemnation? We are punished justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.”
Jesus said to him, “Amen I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.
The sun was darkened. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” When he had said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had happened, he began to glorify God, saying, “This man really was righteous.”
All the crowds gathered to see this spectacle. When they saw what had happened, they returned home beating their chests. All those who knew him, and the women who followed with him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man. He had not agreed with their plan and action. He was looking forward to the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. He took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth, and placed it in a tomb that was cut out of rock, where no one had yet been laid. It was the day of preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee, followed after Joseph and observed the tomb and how his body was laid. They returned and prepared spices and perfumes. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
VERSE OF THE DAY:
All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. By his wounds we are healed.