This is a complete script of our Good Friday Service this year ( 2001 ), including the content of my reflections.

The monologues used are to be found at :


Welcome and Introduction

674 There is a green hill

Luke 22: 66 -71

Keith Garner :

The Chief Priests Monologue

Jim : address

This account of the trial centres on 'Who is Jesus ?' He claims to be more than the Christ.

He claims to be able to directly ascend to God side and rule. Showing that he is the true judge, and that their judgment of him is futile and temporary. This threatens the religious leaders who reject him and his claims without considering the evidence.

Note throughout that Jesus is the one in control, he follows God's will, a way of love. Others are dictated by their own insecurity, their desire to hang on to power, their popularity, their fear or their hatred.

We live in a world that has rejected and rejects the Lordship of Jesus. Some will mock him like the soldiers in verses 63-65. There will be times when we will be like Peter in verses 54-62, tempted to deny Jesus in word or deed by the pressure that we face. Let us confess to God the times we have let him down.


Lord Jesus Christ, we confess we have failed you as did your disciples.

We ask for your mercy and your help.

Our selfishness betrays you:

Lord, forgive.

Christ have mercy.

We fail to share the pain of your suffering: Lord, forgive.

Christ have mercy.

We run away from those who abuse you: Lord, forgive.

Christ have mercy.

We are afraid of being known to belong to you: Lord, forgive.

Christ have mercy.

Absolution :

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his service to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

85 Come and see

Luke 23:1-25

Jim : address

In this section I would like us to consider the innocence of Jesus, and contrast this with those he confronts. It contrasts with the lies of the Jewish assembly who could not execute Jesus themselves for blasphemy, so had to make up charges that would allow Pilate to have him killed. Some of these charges had an element of truth to them, others totally distort the words of Jesus.

In verses 4,15, and 22 Pilate proclaims that Jesus is innocent. But it is clear that there is something that is more important to him than justice. First of all there is political expediency, he passes the buck to Herod. When he gets him back he is a coward, swayed by the rulers and the people. His job was to control them in an area known to be volatile. He offers them the punishment of this innocent man by with whipping him with a toothed whip that would cut into the flesh. This isn't enough for them. He even releases a murderer.

We can really see what someone is like by what they do. This shows their priorities in life, what rules them. Pilate, like many people was ruled by self-interest.

Herod is interested in Jesus because he has heard about his teaching and his miracles. He wants a private show himself, but Jesus doesn't oblige. He is in control. He is silent, verse 9. Isaiah 53: 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

When he doesn't get his own way Herod, backed up by his soldiers, ridicules Jesus and return him to Pilate because they haven't got what they wanted from him.

I've heard people ridicule the Bible who have never read it ! Ridiculing someone or something is an easier option earnest investigation. Perhaps some people don't read the Bible because it might be true, and then they would be faced with a dilemma !

The innocence of Jesus also contrasts with the guilt of Barabbas. He was guilty of murder the rebellion against the Romans. A charge the Jewish leaders had failed to convict Jesus of. Jesus is substituted for Barabbas. The innocent exchanged for the guilty. This is a picture of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. He, the prefect one, received the punishment for the sins of the world so that we can go free.

149 For God so loved

Luke 23:26-49

J.Pye - The Thief Monologue.

Jim : address

Again we can compare Jesus with those who surround him. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." These words of Jesus summarize his whole life. They show his commitment to God's plan to save the world through his sacrificial death. Even in his last hours and minutes Jesus is the saviour. Jesus forgives the penitent thief who recognizes Jesus' innocence and his own guilt He also forgives the soldiers in verse 34, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." For the soldiers this was just another routine execution, at least until the declaration by the centurion in verse 47. His declaration, "Surely this was a righteous man.", reinforces what we saw earlier about Jesus' innocence.

Jesus never felt sorry for himself during his crucifixion. This can be seen by the conversation he has with the wailing women in verses 28-31. Jesus was saying, 'Don't be sorry for me. Be sorry for Jerusalem because she will pay the price when God judges her for this'. About 40 years later in 70 A.D. Jersualem was raised to the ground and its inhabitant's slaughtered by the Romans in fulfilment of Jesus words.

The temple curtain was ripped in tow. It had been a barrier to the holy of holies, the place where God was. No longer would anything be able separate a person from God. Forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus was available from this moment on.

We have a God who demands that sin is punished. The sin of the world was laid upon Jesus as he hung on the cross. Those who rejected, and reject, Jesus will be left on their own to face God's judgment, like the first criminal. Those who have accepted Jesus will know him at their side, before, during and after death.

When my heart cries out, "I'm alone!"

On my cross of despair

I look at the cross to my left

And Jesus is there.


Since Friday He has been

Quietly sharing my pain,

And when I listen

I hear Him say,

"Lo, I am with you ... always."


When pain comes again,

And does not go,

It's easier now

Because I know


That my Easter, too

Will one day come ...

And my Saviour and I

Will truly be one.


(c) R. Jaudon Berry   1998-2004   All Rights Reserved Used by permission


755 When I survey

Luke 23:50-56

Dave Howe :

Joseph Monologue

Jim : address

The Romans usually left the bodies of crucified criminals on the crosses in full view until they rotted away. But, Deuteronomy 21 : 22 If a man guilty of a capital offence is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, 23 you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. Because of this the Jews ensured that the bodies of their own people were not left on the crosses overnight. Burial was only permitted with the permission of a Imperial Magistrate.

Again we have someone affirming the innocence of Jesus. Joseph was a member of the ruling council, a senior religious figure who had not agreed with the plot to crucify Jesus. We know from Matthew's account that he had already become a follower of Jesus ( 27:57 ).

For Joseph the crucifixion and his response is a decisive point in his life. He had publicly taken a stand for Jesus and kissed his career goodbye in this act. He has also given up his own tomb, although he was not to know then that he was only lending it to Jesus for a few days !

Had it not been for this loving act of Joseph, Jesus' body would have been buried in a common criminal's grave. Perhaps the fact that an individual tomb was volunteered in this way added to the evidence of the resurrection two days later. The bravery of Joseph contrasts with Peter who, the previous evening had denied ever knowing Jesus ( 22:54ff ).

It is not until things get difficult that our faith can really be shown to be genuine.

The women saw what had happened, but have no contact with the body the next day as this was the sabbath and prohibited by Jewish law. A reminder of how Jesus and his followers followed the Old Testament.

745 Were you there


May Christ,

who out of defeat brings new hope and a new future,

fill you with his new life.

And the blessing. . .