Quiet our hearts and minds dear God.
Make us ready to rest, ready to reflect, ready to respond.
Help us just to be with you, here, now.
Music: Miserere mihi, Domine – Byrd
Reading John 19
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS. 20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."
22Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
A notice above a dying man’s head.
Many read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek – all the languages of the area, so that all might read and understand. Why should everyone get the chance to read this sign?
Pilate was a man who knew what he was doing. He had been dealing with this man for sometime, he had tried to get rid of him, this problem. What was this final gesture; this sign prepared by the one who washed his hands of Jesus?
Was he making fun of Jesus by hanging a notice which was obviously absurd?
Was he hanging a notice which would deliberately antagonise the Jews? Was he indicating the crime or the legacy of this man Jesus?
Or did Pilate know that this man really was the King of the Jews but felt he was powerless to stop the execution? Was this his final act of defiance or of courtesy to the persecuted man?
Standing, watching this final episode. Proud of the King, or ashamed to be there? How do they feel: his supporters, his mourners, his mockers, his killers?
The Messiah, the revolutionary, Jesus of Nazareth: King of the Jews.
What would our notice say? What words would we proclaim about this Jesus?
Music: When I survey the wondrous cross – Kathryn Scott
King of the Jews,
Thank you for dying for us.
Visit this place, Lord we pray, and drive far from it the snares of the enemy; may your holy angels dwell with us and guard us in peace, and may your blessing be always upon us; through In Jesus Name Amen
May Christ crucified draw us to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope and the assurance of sins forgiven and life eternal; Amen.
Lost in wonder (you chose the cross) – Martin Layzell
© Ellie Clack