Seeking and Choosing Jesus, Good Friday, April 18, 2014

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Good Friday 2014
April 18, 2014
Is 52:13-53:12, Ps 31, Heb4:14-16.5:7-9, Jn 18:1-19:42

To listen to a recording of the chanted Passion according to St. John, please click below:


To listen to an audio recording of this homily, please click below: 

The following text guided the homily: 

Are we truly seeking Jesus? 

Whom do you seek?

At the beginning of St. John’s account of the Passion, Jesus asks a question to the “speira” of at least 200 soldiers who had come to arrest him with swords, clubs and lanterns as if he were some type of difficult-to-find head of a mafia of robbers. The question was “Whom do you seek?”

This is nearly the same question Jesus asked Andrew and John at the beginning of his public ministry after John the Baptist had pointed him out as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. They began to tail him and Jesus turned and asked, “What do you seek?”

Today, we have come here not to seek to arrest or harm Jesus, but as his disciples. Jesus, nevertheless, turns to us and asks each of us, “Whom do you seek?”

Even the soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane were able to say, “Jesus the Nazarene.” But most of them looked at him simply as an insurgent carpenter creating havoc for the temple officials. They were seeking him but in a sense falsely seeking him. They were seeking a counterfeit image of who he was.

Are we here tonight seeking the true Jesus?

A couple of years ago, Pope Benedict examined what happened in the crowds between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, between the exultant messianic cries, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” and the feverish clamors that we hear today for Jesus’ crucifixion. Pope Benedict said that the crowds were acclaiming an idol of their own imagination rather than the real Jesus as Messiah and king. They had “their own idea of the Messiah, an idea of how the long-awaited King promised by the prophets should act.” He would be a political liberator who would free them from the power of the Romans and reestablish the Davidic reign. When he didn’t live up to the expectations of the straw man Messiah they had imagined, they turned him into a punching bag. The reality, the Pope declared, was that “the majority was disappointed by the way Jesus chose to present himself as Messiah and King of Israel.”

Who is Jesus of Nazareth for us? 

That, Pope Benedict said, leads to a “crucial question one cannot avoid,” namely, “Who is Jesus of Nazareth for us? What idea do we have of the Messiah? What idea do we have of God?” The Jesus who calls us to follow him is a “king who chooses his Cross as his throne,” he continued. “We are called to follow a Messiah who promises us, not a facile earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude.” That leads us to ask, especially on this Good Friday on which we behold Jesus crucified, “What are our true expectations? What are our deepest desires?” Do we similarly have false expectations of Jesus such that we, like so many of those on the first Palm Sunday, will end up disappointed?

Today, bathed in blood, with a lacerated body, with nails through his hands and feet, with a parched tongue and throat, Jesus asks us today anew, “Whom do you seek?”

Choosing Jesus over the Competition

Let’s go straight to the place where we, like the crowds, have a chance to give our answer.

In the praetorium in the Fortress Antonina, Pontius Pilate confronts us — just as he did the ancient mob — with a choice. “Whom do you want me to release to you?,” he asks. “Jesus, called the Nazorean, or Barabbas.”

We know what happened on that first Good Friday. In this choice between Jesus and a notorious murderous criminal, the crowds chose the murderous criminal. Pilate was shocked. But that was just the beginning. When he asked what he should do with Jesus, the crowd cried out, “Crucify him!” Not just once. Not twice. But continually. “Why, what evil has he done?,” Pilate asked. “Crucify him!,” was the response they gave.

Today Pilate asks us, too, “Whom do you want me to give to you?” Do we really want Jesus? Are we really seeking Jesus? Are we prepared still to seek Jesus even when it’s hard, even when there’s a mob crying out for Barabbas, even when it may mean that we, too, may suffer because of our fidelity?

Spiritual Lukewarmness

One of the biggest issues plaguing Catholics today is lukewarmness, what Blessed John Paul II called “mediocre” Christianity. These people practice the faith as a good custom, but they’re not totally committed to it. They haven’t turned their back on Christ, but they haven’t really totally turned to face him either.  They don’t really hunger for his word. They don’t really center their lives on him in prayer and the sacraments. They don’t strive to sacrifice themselves for God and others. Even if they do some Lenten penance, inwardly they’re not really “all in” to Jesus’ summons to deny themselves, pick up their Cross each day to die on it, and to follow Jesus fully. They say that they are seeking Jesus of Nazareth, that Jesus is their choice, but often they have made Jesus into a comfortable idol, someone who is domesticated, who doesn’t mention moral truths we don’t like, who doesn’t call us to convert from sins to which we’re attached, who doesn’t insist on loving even the most unlikable people, forgiving even those who have not repented, praying even for those persecuting us, who doesn’t insist on the importance of Sunday Mass or the Sacrament of Confession, who doesn’t want us to reverence the priesthood and the Church. We prefer a Jesus who loves us “unconditionally” but whose love is soft and unchallenging, leaving us just the way we are and promising us choice seats in heaven even if we don’t want to convert and commitment ourselves truly to living and loving as he does and wants. We prefer a Jesus who allows us to make our own priorities rather than one who challenges us to adopt his priorities. Even though we sing on Good Friday, as we will at the beginning of the veneration of the Cross, “love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all,” what we really want is a Jesus who is not so demanding, who doesn’t force us to choose, who doesn’t really mean that we need to follow him down the path of the grain of wheat, that if we wish to save our life we must lose it for him and the Gospel.

Pontius Pilate’s courtyard was filled not just with those who were trying to get Pilate to execute Jesus, not just with perhaps a few friends of Barabbas, but mainly by a bunch of tepid disciples of Jesus. They had hailed him as the Messiah on Palm Sunday, they had watched him with glee overturn the temples, they had listened him teach in the temple porticoes like no one had ever taught, they had observed his miracles or met Lazarus risen from the dead or the crippled man carrying his mat or the man born blind now seeing. But these were all versions of the Messiah they liked. Someone who was strong. Someone who worked miracles. Someone whom they thought might kick out the Romans and share the spoils with them, not to mention help them out whenever they were in a bind. They really weren’t particularly interested in him after he had been brutally scourged. They weren’t all that gung ho if choosing him meant that they needed to oppose the chief priests and the scribes who were whipping up the crowd to call for Barabbas. Jesus was easy to follow when he was working miracles, but they didn’t really want to choose him as a suffering savior because that would mean that they too would have to suffer in union with him instead of achieve secular success.

What about us? If we were in that courtyard, as Pilate asked, “Whom do you want me to give to you,? “ would we have been braved the crowd shouting for Barabbas and clamored at the top of our lungs, “Give me Jesus!” “I want Jesus!” “I choose Jesus!” There were no voices calling out for Jesus that day. If we were there, would we have had the courage to cry out, even if alone, asking for Pilate to give us the Lord?

These questions confront us with the real impact that Good Friday is meant to have on us. Many Christians today have been led to believe that, if the majority of Christians are doing something or not doing something, then there’s safety in numbers and they can go the way of the crowd. If everyone’s clamoring for Barabbas, they say, then I can’t be expected to cry out for Jesus. If the majority have constructed a comfortable, pet Jesus, if the multitude ignores the reality of his suffering and his call to follow him on the way of the Cross, then they convince themselves, “I can just remain silent, preferring Jesus in my heart, right?”

No. Edmund Burke once said that all that’s necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. So many of those who were good did nothing on Good Friday and we see what evil did to Goodness himself. Our inaction has consequences. The collective cowardice of the crowd led to the greatest evil ever done. The fact that God brought the greatest good out of this greatest evil doesn’t’ change the fact that it was evil.

The Guts We Need Today to Choose Jesus

Today is a day in which we must learn how to say — even if we’re going to be the only one in Pilate’s courtyard, even if we’re going to be the only one in our family, even if we’re going to be the only one in our school, or in our neighborhood, or in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or in the whole universe — “Give me Jesus! I choose Jesus!” And to choose Jesus is to choose the real Jesus, the one who came to give witness to the truth. To choose Jesus means to choose to know his truth, to live his truth, to spread his truth, even to die for the truth, as martyrs have done before us. Today, the mobs are crying out for the Barabbas of kicking out immigrants who don’t have proper documentation who are no risk to national security, even though Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Others are choosing the Barabbas of a hardened heart toward the poor, even though Jesus said, “When I was hungry, you fed me.” Others are clamoring for the Barabbas of a medical system that provides free contraception, abortion-causing pills and sterilizations, all totally contrary to God’s plans. The lynch mobs today are clamoring for the Barabbas of same-sex marriage, calling those who oppose them bigots for believing that marriage needs to have a husband and a wife, that marriage isn’t anything we want to be but what God made it to be. When these and other circumstances come up, do we choose Jesus and his teachings about marriage or do we choose the Barabbas of media-driven opinion? The mobs today are clamoring for Barabbases under the guise of vengeance, of might makes right, of treating others as objects rather than as brothers and sisters. Do we choose Jesus or do we clamor for murders and insurrections? Do we have the courage to be that solitary voice when the world asks us, “What do you say?” “Whom do you want?” “What do you choose?”

A Figure of Conversion to Choosing Jesus

That leads us to our final point. If we haven’t been faithful up until now, today is the time for us to convert.

At the end of the Gospel today, we meet Joseph of Arimathea. All four of the Gospel writers mention him and what he did. We learn that he was a “good and just man,” a rich member of the Sanhedrin who didn’t agree with what the Sanhedrin decided. The evangelists tell us that he was awaiting the kingdom of God but “secretly out of fear for the Jews.” He had tried to be a disciple in secret. When the Sanhedrin met to try to sentence Jesus to death, it’s likely that he remained quiet, that he didn’t say anything, that he didn’t fight it, that he didn’t put his reputation on the line to defend Jesus.

But after Jesus died, he finally grew a spine. He courageously went to Pontius Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. He was going to take the side of a crucified criminal. He was going to brave the anger of the fellow members of the Sanhedrin. But at this point he didn’t care. He may not have stuck up for Jesus while he was alive, but he was going to do so now.

What he did was important because in the ancient world, crucifixion victims were generally just left on the Crosses for vultures to have a gruesome buffet, or they were chopped down to let the wild dogs get at their corpses as well. Some have suggested that the reason why the place was called Golgotha or Place of the Skull was because it was littered with the skulls of previous crucifixion victims. The reality is that most of Jesus’ apostles had totally abandoned him and they were prepared to just like the animals go after his body. Even thought St. John, the Blessed Mother, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary and Salome were present on Calvary, none likely had the financial or reputational wherewithal to do much. All they might have been able to accomplish would have been for Jesus to be thrown into a common burial ditch with other criminals.

Joseph of Arimathea wouldn’t allow it. He had a newly hewn tomb very close to Calvary, a tomb he was almost certainly planning one day to use for himself. After asking Pilate for Jesus’ body and receiving Pilate’s order, he had the body taken down. Together with Nicodemus, another secret disciple and member of the Sanhedrin who came to Jesus by night and like Joseph was making up for lost opportunities, they anointed Jesus’ body with 100 pounds — 100 pounds! — of myrrh and olive oil, wrapped the body in fine linen and placed the body in Joseph’s tomb.

Joseph of Arimathea’s example teaches us two lessons that we have to grasp  The first is that many times we simply wait too long to do what we should. We wait, for example, until someone is dead until we appreciate his life. We wait until someone moves away until we appreciate what we had. We place on people’s graves the flowers we should have given them when we were alive. We keep for obituaries and eulogies what she should have said about them when they were alive. We wait, figuring there will be time later, but something happens to them, or something happens to us. Joseph’s story tells us that we need to act now. Joseph of Arimathea’s example shows us that the time for us to stick up for Jesus is not later, when the time is right. The time for us to stop being secret disciples out of fear of our bosses, or family members, or neighbors, or teachers, or the politically correct mobs is not later. It’s now.

Second, we’re called to have the courage to ask for the body of Jesus. This clearly has a Eucharistic meaning. We don’t have a rock-hewn sepulcher, but we have our own body. It may seem like a tomb, there may be a lot of darkness and death there. But we’re called to clean it out through confession and to ask for Jesus’ body, so that he may rise from the dead within us and raise us from the dead. Little did Joseph know that the tomb in which he placed Jesus’ body would become the most famous tomb of all time. He had little idea that 40 hours later the tomb would become full of light and emptied. Little do we know what the Lord will do with us when we receive him worthily within us. What the Lord chooses to do is not principally our concern; our concern is to have the courage to ask for the body of Jesus. Our concern is not just to ask for Jesus’ body, but to come get Jesus’ body. Our concern is to sacrifice what we have for Jesus and for his kingdom, putting everything at his disposal — and allowing him to do the rest.

On this Good Friday, Jesus asks us, “Whom do you seek?” Pilate asks us, “Whom do you want me to give to you?” We respond by asking him for Jesus over all the Barabbases of the world. We ask for his body — and not just his body, but his blood, soul and divinity. We ask not for his corpse but for his living body. And we come to get it, asking him for the courage always to choose him. For love so amazing, so divine, really does demand our live, our soul, our all.

The readings for today’s Passion service were: 

Reading 1
IS 52:13-53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at himC
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of manC
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25

R/ (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R/ Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R/ Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.”
R/ Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the LORD.
R/ Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading 2
HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

JN 18:1-19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to where there was a garden,
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards
from the chief priests and the Pharisees
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him,
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, “
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said,
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it,
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest,
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather,
and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”
When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium,
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said,
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him,
“We do not have the right to execute anyone,”
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium
and summoned Jesus and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak,
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
“Look, I am bringing him out to you,
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered,
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots
This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day;
for the tomb was close by.