The Cost of “Good” Friday

The Cost of Discipleship

            Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying,

“. . . The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. . . . Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.

            “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved. . . . The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. . . . If they have called the master of the houseBeelzebub[a], how much more shall they call them of his household?

Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that [you shall] speak in light: and what you hear in the ear, that [you shall] preach upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, I will confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, I will deny him also before my Father which is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to send peace on earth: I did not come to send peace, but a sword. . . . And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that does not take [up] his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. . . . truly I say unto you, he shall in no way lose his reward.” 

(Matthew 10:2-5, 7b, 16-22, 24, 25b-34, 36-39, 42b KJV*)

Jesus, the Crucified

            When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: and when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

            Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented[b] [about] himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see yourself to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, . . .  

            And Jesus stood before the governor and the governor asked him, saying, Aren’t you the King of the Jews?

            And Jesus answered him, You say it. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

            Then said Pilate unto him, Do you not hear how many things they witness against you? And [Jesus] answered him never a word; in such a way that the governor marveled greatly.

            Now at that feast the governor was in the habit of releasing to the people a prisoner, whom they would [choose]. . . . Pilate said unto them,

            Who is it you want that I release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

            For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. . . . .

            They said, Barabbas.

            Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?

            They all said unto him, Let him be crucified.

            And the governor said, Why, what evil has he done?

             But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. . . .

            [Pilate] washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see to it yourself. . . .

            And when he had scourged[c] Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered to him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

            And when they had braided a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and struck him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own clothing on him, and led him away to crucify him.

            And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall[d]: and when he had tasted of it, he would not drink.

            And they crucified him, and [stripped off and divided up] his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.[e] And sitting down they watched him there; and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

            And they that passed by reviled[f] him, wagging their heads, and saying, You that destroyed the temple, and built it in three days, save yourself. If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

            Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and [THEN] we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: because he said, “I am the Son of God.” The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same accusations in their teeth.[g]

            Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land to the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

            Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calls out for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

            The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

            Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit. And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks broke apart; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many.

            Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

            And many women were there beholding [the scene] from far off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses [John], and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

            When the evening was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged [to have] the body of Jesus [for burial]. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre[h], and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

            Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying,

            Sir, we remember that the deceiver said, while he was yet alive, “After three days I will rise again.”  Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say to the people, “He is risen from the dead”: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

            Pilate said to them, You have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

            So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

(Matthew 27:1-5, 11-15, 17-18, 21b-23, 24, 26-66 KJV*).

 *NOTE:  The KJV is in the public domain. For ease of reading, I have modernized the wording as necessary, changing ye and thee to “you”, and so forth.  Some terms, I have switched out for modern words that mean the same, and others I have footnoted for clarity.  I encourage you to read these passages in other translations or in the original KJV at Matthew 10 and Matthew 27


[a] Beelzebub – a name for Satan; evil one

[b] repented – usually this word comes from the Greek Metanoeite, from meta (change) + noieo (to think); “to think differently afterwards, i.e., reconsider”. In this verse, however, the word translated as “repented” is the Greek metamelētheis, “to care afterwards, i.e., regret”.  Judas felt regret for the consequences of his actions, but he did not change his thinking.

[c] scourge – to punish someone with a whip; often with unbraided strands at the end and tied at the end of each strand with sharp objects in order to tear the flesh

[d] gall – vinegar and gall (the contents of the gallbladder; bile, proverbial for its bitterness) was often used

[e] Psalm 22:18

[f] reviled – criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner (re– “again” + vil “vile; of low value”).

[g] Matthew and Mark report on the scene with both the thieves casting accusations in the pain of their own situation; but Luke (23:39-42) reports the change that takes place as one of them watches how Christ suffers and repents, confesses Jesus as the Christ and receives forgiveness and a very sure hope of eternal life from Jesus.

[h] sepulchre – tomb; a small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried.

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