Cycle (A) Good Friday

Is. 52:13-53:12; Heb. 4:14-16, 5:7-9; Jn. 18:1-19:42
There was once a bridge that spanned a large river. During most of the day the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river paralleled with the banks, allowing ships to pass through freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river, allowing the train to cross it. A switchman sat in a shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the
bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed.  One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train lights. He stepped onto the control and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance. Then he was to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position, but, to his horror, he found the locking control did not work. If the bridge was not securely in position, it would cause the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with MANY people aboard. He left the bridge turned across the river and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river, where there was a lever switch he could hold to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the rumble of the train now, and he took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength. Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy, where are you?" His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to snatch up his son and carry him to safety. But he realized that he could not get back to the lever in time if he saved his son.
Either many people on the train or his own son - must die.
The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the on rushing train.
It was in the eternal plan of God that his son should be sacrificed to bridge the gap between us and Him. John tells that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." [Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:9] The death of Jesus, associates with our salvation. We remember that Jesus died for us. We remember that He died for bridging the gap between God, the Father and us.
 The suffering of Jesus is beyond human comprehension.  From the moment of his passion in the garden of Gethsemane to the evening of Calvary the suffering of Jesus prolonged. During these hours many dramatic events took place and many faces passed by. Friends departed and enemies came together. The disciple of Jesus deserted Him and Peter denied that he knew Jesus. On the other hand two great enemies Herod and Pilate became great friends. Jesus felt dejected and alienated from his fellow men and God, the father. But this redemptive suffering was instrumental to remove the alienation of mankind from God. In the garden of Aden when man sinned, God came in search of man and asked him, “Where are you?” At the moments of the culminating moments of redemption Jesus sought the presence of God, and asked Him, “Why have you forsaken me?”
During the trial many said lies that were testified against Jesus? [Mk. 14:56]. Some of the people spit on Jesus? [Mk. 14:65]. He was whipped [Mt. 27:26]. He was stripped of His clothing? [Mt. 27:28]. He had a Crown of Thorns placed on His head? They mocked Jesus by bowing on their knees before Him? [Mk. 19-20]. He was beaten by the soldiers? [Jn. 19:3]. These are the rewards given for doing good.  These are the rewards reserved for Him for feeding the hungry. These are the rewards for healing the sick. These are the rewards for teaching to be noble. These are the rewards for announcing the Kingdom of God.
When Jesus turned water into wine none would have imagined that he would be offered vinegar to quench his thirst. When he multiplied the loves to fee thousands, none would have imagined that he would have to go hungry for days. When he cured the cripple none would have imagined that He would be crippled. When he cured the outcast lepers, none would have imagined that he would be treated as outcast. When he raised Lazarus, none would have imagined that He would be killed.
All these Jesus accepted silently as part of his redemptive suffering. But He asked the soldier who struck him, one question? “Why do you strike me?”
Jesus was absolutely sure that His ways were God’s ways. Jesus was absolutely certain that He did the right thing said the right thing. From that deep conviction came the words, “Why do you strike me?”
About two thousand years ago, Jesus asked the unjust soldier, "Why do you strike me?" Today when we fall short of showing love towards others, Jesus asks us the same question. When we refuse to feed the hungry, Jesus asks us the same question. When we turn away the strangers, Jesus asks us the same question. When we refuse to take care of the sick or refuse to visit the prisoners, Jesus asks us the same question. "Why do you strike me?"

When we stand at the foot of the cross today this question is addressed to us” Why do you strike me?"