‘Crucify him!’: John 19.1–16 (Day 363)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: John 19

John's account of the death of Jesus is both moving and horrifying. Perhaps one thing that stands out, though, is the personal hostility with which Jesus is treated; whipping was standard, but the soldiers ram a crown of thorns onto his head and slap him (verses 2–3) and the crowd calls in a fury for his death (verse 15). By contrast, John doesn't dwell on the moment of crucifixion, simply saying it was done (verse 18). Perhaps he didn't need to go into the details, which would have been well known by his readers.

Why, at the end of his life, was Jesus so hated, when all he had done was preach and embody the love of God? One answer is that goodness is challenging in itself: good people show us ourselves as we ought to be, but usually aren't. We might respond with a resolution to be more like them, or we might respond with jealousy and resentment. It's not surprising that someone who was perfectly good might be perfectly hated. Another answer is to think about what 'goodness' means. There's a 'safe' goodness which most people will applaud, and an unsafe goodness that's very threatening. As the Brazilian archbishop Dom Helder Camara said, 'When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.' The Jesus who healed the sick was the same as the Jesus who attacked the corruption of Temple worship and the hypocrisy of religious leaders. Goodness can be dangerous; it sent Jesus to the cross.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you for the goodness of Jesus, and for the love he showed his friends and enemies. Let his goodness be my pattern and guide through life, whatever it costs me.

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