With the words of the Sermon on the Mount still fresh in my ears, I read the events of Good Friday differently. You can read the story yourself in Matthew 26:57-27:61.
You probably remember most of the story. There’s a sham trial. They accuse him of blasphemy, even though he said,
Don’t even begin to think that I have come to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I haven’t come to do away with them but to fulfill them. (5:17)
The religious and political leaders collaborate to find an excuse to do what they want to do anyway. Their lying incompetence is revealed as Jesus is shuffled from one petty tyrant to another while they try to figure out under whose jurisdiction his murder belongs.
Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. (5:10)
Jesus barely answers his accusers. He says almost nothing to Pilate.
Don’t throw your pearls in front of pigs. (7:6)
Pilate’s lackeys mock him and beat him.
But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well. (5:39)
They lead him out of the city, pressing Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross.
When they force you to go one mile, go with them two. (5:41)
They crucify him at Golgotha. His male followers have fled. Women who followed him watch and mourn from a distance.
Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. (5:4)
Jesus did not just preach the Sermon on the Mount with his mouth. He lived it. He was a living example of The Way, and he was The Way, and he intended the community of his followers to embody The Way.
But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the [way] difficult, so few people find it. (7:14)
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus goes up a mountain, sits down, and his disciples gather around him (5:1). But on Good Friday, he goes up a hill, is buried under ground, and his disciples scatter.
Yet he is still teaching.
Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. (5:3)
Holy Week Prayer:
Teacher who teaches in life and death, thank you for your teaching.