Preparing for Good Friday

Mar 26, 2024

The Passion narratives do not offer packaged answers to the questions created by human agony. But they do offer perspective and meaning. They show Jesus, Son of God and child of the universe, walking the same path of pain and death, yet not broken by it. They portray this representative human, this “new Adam”, displaying the many moods of the Christian before death: anguish, lament, peaceful acceptance, stunned silence. They invite the reader to locate his or her place in the cast of characters, who swirl through the drama: the hostile opponents, the betrayer, the terrorised disciples, a leader who denies, the vacillating crowd, the women who stand boldly present at the cross. The narratives place all of this drama on the stage of biblical history. The voices of the prophets, the anguished prayers of the psalmist and many other texts of the Hebrew Bible were drawn into the passion story to help the early church detect the pattern of God’s presence, even here in what seemed the darkest moment of human history. By retelling the passion story and placing themselves in it, the early Christians found new coherence in their own passion. Through liturgy, drama, and personal reflection, generation after generation of believers have done the same.

Don Senior, The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark,
Wilmington: Glazier, 1984, 8-9.

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