Who killed Jesus? Lots of people had a hand in it.
- There was Judas, who betrayed him. He gave Jesus away to the temple guards so they could arrest him.
- There were the chief priests, called Annas and Caiaphas, who thoroughly disliked what Jesus was doing and who were delighted to get their hands on him and make up some accusations against him.
- There was Pilate, who saw no good reason to put Jesus to death but who still gave in to the shouts of the crowd.
- There was Herod, a cruel Jewish prince, who made fun of Jesus.
- There were the soldiers, who mocked Jesus and bullied him and finally nailed him to the cross - under orders, of course.
- There was the crowd, who shouted that they wanted a terrorist called Barabbas set free, not Jesus; and they shouted for Jesus to be crucified.
But it's not good enough for us to blame these people who lived 2000 years ago. The people who really killed Jesus include us.
Yes, you and me.
Because the reason Jesus was born and the reason he came to live on earth was so that he could take the punishment for the wrong things we have done. We - and all the men and women and children who ever lived - have sinned against God; and if you turn your back on God who gives you life, then what you deserve is death. But God didn't want us all to die for ever, and so he sent Jesus. Jesus died on the cross in our place, so that we could be forgiven and be God's friends again.
And that shows amazing love on God's part for us, that he should give his Son to die for us. It shows amazing love and obedience on Jesus's part, that he should be ready to give his life for us. It was a dreadful decision he had to face - we saw on the video how much he wrestled with that decision among the olive trees, just before he was taken prisoner - but he went through with it, because he knew he wanted to do what God wanted.
So if it wasn't for us, Jesus wouldn't have needed to die. Who killed Jesus? We had a part in it. And so we want to tell Jesus three things: we want to tell him how sorry we are for our sins; we want to tell him how much we love him and are thankful for his death on the cross; and we want to tell him that we want to follow him as his friends from now on.
Taken from the Good Friday service at St. Nicholas, Sturry, 2002.
After hearing this talk by Revd Peter Cornish, each of us laid a hand-written card and some flowers at the entrance to the tomb. Photos of the flowers at the tomb are viewable under Past Events.