What is truth? Does it come packaged in absolutes and easy answers? Christ Jesus is the way, the truth and the life – truth has a face.

Good Friday Worship 2nd April 2021


Hebrews 10:16-25 (a responsive reading)


This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:

I will put my laws in their hearts,

I will write them on their minds,

I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.

Where there is forgiveness,

there is no longer any retribution and sacrifice. 

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the cross of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us,

let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith.


Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering,

for he who has promised is faithful. 

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together,

but encouraging one another, and all the more as the light of the New Day is dawning.


Praying the Lord’s Prayer:


Our Father in heaven

Hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done on earth as in heaven

Give us today our daily bread

Forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us

Save us from the time of trial

And deliver us from evil

For the kingdom, the power and the glory

Are yours now and forever, Amen.


Today we prayerfully reflect on the Scriptures, telling the story of the mystery of salvation as told in the Gospel according to John chapters 18 to 19. We will hear Jesus’ way to the cross of love, the denial by the disciple, the questions at the trial, the crucifixion, his death, his burial – the mystery of the atonement, the forgiveness of sins, our reconciliation, the testimony of God’s love for the world, and the cost of love.


As it will be a time of prayerful reflection, I won’t announce the order of service. It will come up on the screen. Let the readings and time of reflection lead you into prayer with the God of Jesus Christ.



John 18:1-9 (Judy Lafdal)

Title: Jesus willingly walks the way of the cross, the way of God’s love for the world.


When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”


Song: ‘Tell My People I Love Them’



John 18:10-17; 25-27 (Jeanette Phillips)

Title: The disciple’s denial of Jesus


Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.

He replied, “I am not.”

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.


Reflection (David Sang-Joon):

Why take it out on the high priest’s servant, Peter? Why take it out on the little guy, I wonder? It’s easy to think we are standing up for Jesus by pulling out the sword. It’s easy to think we are fighting against injustice by demeaning with our words those we deem as the problem. It’s easy to take on the slave than the master as the consequence will be less. It’s easy to defer the blame for our problems on the marginalized for their cries are deemed as noises and dealt with as nuisance. All the while, we are siding with the powerful, playing the part in the system that marginalize the marginalized, cripple the crippled, cut the ear of those who have never heard the voice of love, we deny Jesus. All the while Jesus pays the ultimate price, his life, for the world’s expendables.


Song: ‘From Heaven You Came [The Servant King]’



John 18: 29-38a; 19:4-11 (Alex Aitken and David Sang-Joon Kim)

Title: The Questions – Jesus’ ambiguity and silence confronts our lust for absolutes and easy answers


So Pilate came out to chief priests and their officials and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”



What is truth? Does it come packaged in absolutes and easy answers? Christ Jesus is the way, the truth and the life – truth has a face.


Reading: John 19:14-20 (Justina Ayogu)

Title: The Crucifixion – Forgiveness and reconciliation even at the miscarriage of justice for the fulfillment of God’s love for the world


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.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many 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.


Reading: John 19:23-30 (Janne Ross)

Title: The Death – Jesus dying our death, sharing in the frailty of our humanity


When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Song: ‘Were You There’


Reading: John 19:38-42 (Anne Bray)

Title: The Burial – entering into the silence of the tomb, the tempest of the unknown.


Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.


Prayerful silence:

Rubens, The Descent from the Cross


Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


So, the cross of torture and death has been transformed into the symbol of love, love of God for us, for the world.


Poem: Good Friday by Joy Cowley (from Psalms Down Under)


We do not call it Bad Friday

although, for the One who lived and died

the torture of that day

there would have been nothing good about it.

It was death by dishonor,

death by a pain so severe

that it filled all the spaces of thinking,

wrenching forth the cry,

“My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!”


This One, this Christ who used nature

to describe eternal truths,

who spoke of the cycle of the seasons

with images of grains of wheat,

fields, sheep, and flowing water,

this One was too steeped in agony

to remember that even the rarest flower

must die to produce a seeding.


But we who bear the gift

of his life and death and life,

call it Good Friday

and carry with us

the knowledge that in Him,

all of our crucifixions

are but resurrections unborn.


Song: ‘When I Survey The Wondrous Cross’



Now we go into the day wide-eyed,

wondering, meditating, ruminating,

on the mystery of Good Friday,

the revelation of God’s love for the world,

together with one another,

with Christ our crucified Lord,

by the communion of the Holy Spirit. Amen.