the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” (John 19:1-11; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
It may surprise some antinomians in our midst to learn that Jesus kept the Law of God to perfection – even in death. In fact, Jesus saved us by means of satisfying the terms of the Law. The law requires that all who sin to be sentenced to death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) You may have counted yourself as an exception to the human race and free of sin, but what does God’s Word say of such a foolish assumption? “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12) Regardless how diligently we search out the fine print, we will find not exceptions to this fundamental flaw of human nature, either in our selves, or any others. So we stand convicted and deserving of the sentence of death. God is just and cannot abide sin in His Heaven. So the Law must be satisfied. Death must be the sentence for our sins. In fact, as sinners, we are already dead! But Christ came to satisfy that penalty of death for us. If He, too, were a sinner, He could only have died for His own sins; but He was pure and sinless and the only One who could qualify as a Redeemer. And so He came and paid that horrible price at Calvary.
Though the Roman government was complicit in His mock trial, the Roman Prelate, Pontius Pilate, attempted to find cause to set Jesus free. He publicly proclaimed that he found Jesus guiltless of all charges. But the greater guilt was borne by the religious leaders of the Jews who were religious in their pride, prestige, and wealth; but very poor toward faith in God. I have heard it said by sincere Christians that there are no degrees of sin – that every sin carries equal weight with every other. This is true as concerns salvation, but not the degree of evil intentions that are the authors of sin. “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” Jesus clearly declares that some sins are greater than others; and there can be no greater sin than to dishonor and blaspheme the Son of God!
There have been more than 2,000 Good Friday’s that have transpired since that first Good Friday. Many would crucify Christ anew by seemingly accepting His Lordship and Sovereignty in their lives and then, through their sinful actions and hypocrisy, deny the blood that was shed for them. We all know that evil must and will come, but woe unto them by whom it comes. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to die in our stead. This is absolute fact! But He came to die by the power of His own Will and not the power of mortal man. Man’s intent was wicked toward Christ, but man had not the power to crucify Jesus. Our Lord allowed it of His own Will and Purpose. “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” He came to satisfy the Law and impute the perfect righteousness required by the Father for us to enter into His Heaven. His sacrifice was a once-and-for-all sacrifice that is quite different from that of the so-called Roman Mass. But His blood sacrifice at Calvary bears on-going fruits to all who seek redemption. Though, in our mortal frailties we may fail and falter, Our Lord stands upon the stormy seas of life to reach down His nail-scared had and retrieve us from our sea of sin into which we may often sink. He offered no defense at His trial before Pilate because it was His intent to go all of the way for our salvation. He never hesitated or cast a longing eye back.
He “gave up the Ghost” at 3 PM outside Jerusalem, at the very moment that the Passover Lamb was to be sacrificed in the Temple; but that Temple lamb bore no benefit for anyone. It was the Lamb of God which that Temple Lamb represented that was for the healing of nations. The faithful Centurion who had witnessed all of the events of the day was forced to confess and glorify God: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)
At the moment of our Lord’s passing, a singular event transpired that is often overlooked by the casual Bible scholar: “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” (Mark 15:38) This is viewed by some as a simple little detail to which no particular importance should be attached. But such an assumption gravely misses the mark. Until the very moment of our Lord’s sacrificial death, only the High Priest was allowed behind the veil of the Holy of Holies to intercede on our behalf with God following the Pascal sacrifice. But now that the One, true sacrifice to which the Pascal Lamb had pointed since the Exodus from Goshen in the Land of Egypt had been sacrifice, there was no longer a need for the Veil of Separation between God and His people. Being torn from top to bottom (it could not have been torn from bottom to top since man had no power to remove the separation) God made Himself available for the direct approach of His people to the Holy of Holies. Our only Intercessor, Advocate, and High Priest became our Lord Jesus Christ. The Throne of Grace is thereby made available to all who will come. We need no man or priest to absolve us of sin – only the Lord Jesus Christ. In our Anglican worship, the minister only PRONOUNCES the will of God in absolving all who truly repent of their sins.
This day must be viewed as a most joyous day for those of us who have found forgiveness and redemption for our sins; but it was the most egregiously sorrowful day in all Eternity for God the Father in seeing His son being treated with such dishonor, cruelty and same. Greater good has never been done for humanity than on this day 2,000 years ago.