Good Friday Homily: The Politics of Good Friday

Delivered at Providence Church…a service with Christ Church in Pace, Fl

Prayer: May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock, and our Kinsman. Amen.

 

 Sermon: People of God, the story of Good Friday is that it was by a tree that Adam fell in the garden and by a tree Adam is restored.[1]

We see this restoration unfolding for us in the Gospel of St. John. In the narrative, Pilate represents the evil empire that conspires against the Lord’s anointed, but he does not collude in isolation; he conspires with the Jews of the day. These are two manifestations of politics in the Passion Week: the Romans with their propensity to elevate kings to the status of gods and the First-Century Jews with their propensity to elevate Maccabbean characters as their messiah. Both groups with their distinct ideologies share the same contempt for Jesus. The Romans despise Him because He is a threat to the peace of the empire; the Jews hate Him because He equates Himself to Yahweh. There is a back and forth dilemma facing the political powers of this world. “What do we do with this man?” “Do we crucify him; do we let Him go; will He anger Caesar; will He draw to Himself members of our political party?”[2] Throughout the Gospels we often hear of the confusion and uncertainty about the nature of Jesus, but by this point, they have realized that Jesus is no ordinary man; that He is not just claiming to be the Messiah, but also a kingly substitute for the current selection of kings, then their tone changes quite drastically. Their plans of execution and murder suddenly become quite concrete. Their shout of “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord” becomes “Crucify Him!” This is the politics of Good Friday:

“The Word of God, who was with God and was God, the Only-Begotten Son, takes flesh and dwells among us, and in response, the most sophisticated religious leaders of the ancient world join forces with the most powerful political leaders of the ancient world to murder Him. God enters His creation, and His creatures concentrate all their ingenuity, passion, piety, and power to destroy Him. “Now is the judgment of this world,” Jesus had said. While the world thinks it is passing judgment on Jesus, it is really judging itself.” [3]

What is distinctive about the politics of Good Friday is not that Jesus despises power; after all, He will receive all power and authority in heaven and earth[4] from the Father, rather the uniqueness of Good Friday is that power comes through death, and the declaration of His kingship does not appear in the splendor of a Roman coronation, but in the horror of a tree.

When Pilate handed over Jesus to the Jews and mockingly stated: “Behold your King!” little did he know that the destruction of his own kingdom now was certain, and the genesis and emergence of an everlasting kingdom was already taking place.

Unlike Adam, Jesus did not fail to crush the Serpent.[5] On a tree, Adam fell, but through a tree, a New Adam and a New Humanity is resurrected.

In the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


[1] Inspired by Peter Leithart.

[2] See the Pharisees’ declaration in John 12:19.

[3] “Peter J. Leithart ” Blog Archive ” Good Friday Homily.” Leithart.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011 <http://www.leithart.com/2008/03/21/good-friday-homily-3/&gt;.

[4] Matthew 28:18-20.

[5] Romans 16:20

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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2 Responses to Good Friday Homily: The Politics of Good Friday

  1. Rene says:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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