Lectionary Commentaries for April 19, 2019
Good Friday

from WorkingPreacher.org


Commentary on John 18:1—19:42

Lindsey S. Jodrey

John’s story of Jesus’ life and ministry is quite unique compared to the Synoptic accounts.

Here in the Passion Narrative, which narrates Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial, some unique details stand out. Many of these details match criteria for a “noble death” in ancient Greco Roman literature.

Jesus dies in an act of his own volition. In contrast to the Synoptic Gethsemane scenes (in Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; see also 12.27-28) Jesus does not ask to escape his death (see John 12:27-28). In John, Jesus moves systematically and knowingly toward his hour. Rather than letting Judas’ kiss betray him, Jesus identifies himself and approaches the arresting party. His statement, ego eimi, literally means “I am” and recalls God’s self-designation to Israel (see Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 41:4; 43:10; 46:4). John’s characterization of Jesus as God in flesh continues even through his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial. Jesus is not a tragic victim in John; he is the ideal hero.

Jesus embraces his own suffering for the benefit of others. Jesus’ death is meaningful not only because he dies willingly but because his death results in good of the world. John 18:14 reminds the reader of the earlier statement of Caiaphas, the high priest, “it is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed” (11:50). Although in the story’s sociopolitical context the statement reflects Roman threats to Jewish religious freedom, on another level, the statement goes further.

As the Evangelist tells us, “Jesus was about to die … not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God” (John 11:51-52). Jesus’ claim one chapter earlier, “I am the Good Shepherd,” shows that his life and death will be for the benefit of the “sheep” who follow him (10:10-11). Drawing on images from Israel’s scriptures, John characterizes Jesus as a genuine caretaker who, like God, promises to seek Israel out, to gather Israel, and provide for them (Ezekiel 34:11-14; Numbers 27:16-17). In quite the mixed metaphor, John presents Jesus as the shepherd who cares for the sheep even at the cost of his own life, the gate to safety and provision (see also 10:9), and the Lamb of God, whose death “takes away the sin of the world” (1:29).

The lamb of God

John uniquely calls Jesus “the Lamb of God,” a title that recalls the Paschal Lamb and links Jesus’s ministry and death with the context of Passover (see details in 19:29, 36 that support this connection). John also connects Jesus’ death with the celebration of Passover by arranging the narrative timeline so that Jesus is crucified on the day of Preparation for the Passover (in contrast to the Synoptics which portray the Last Supper as a Passover meal; see Matthew 26:17-35; Mark 14:12-31; Luke 22:7-23).

The parallel is vivid — Jesus hangs on the cross at the same time that the Paschal lambs are being slaughtered at the temple. However, the Paschal sacrifice was not for the atoning of individual sins; rather, it was a remembrance of God freeing the Israelite people from slavery in Egypt. John’s reference to taking away the sin of the world here is better understood in terms of Jesus’ incarnation, life, and death defeating the powers opposed to God and bringing abundant life.

Although “sin” is a topic in the Gospel, it is usually a designation for unbelief, the barrier to God’s liberative purpose. Jesus’ death should be interpreted in light of this backdrop that emphasizes the good news that God is on the side of the oppressed, God suffers with humanity, and God’s power will ultimately bring freedom and justice.

Prophetic voices for Good Friday

As I reflect on Good Friday, on God coming to earth in flesh and suffering with humanity, I cannot help but recall significant suffering in my own modern American context: the lynching tree and the ongoing and grossly dismissed assault on black bodies currently plaguing our country. In many ways, the oppression of the lynching tree, the sin of racism and violence by white Americans, lives on in the murder of black individuals by white civilians and police officers. Two prophetic voices, James Cone and Kelly Brown Douglas, are worth listening to, particularly on Good Friday.

Cone powerfully pairs the cross and the lynching tree, looking to the cultural imagination of black artists and authors who connect Jesus’ experience of suffering with their own lived experiences of oppression. For Cone, Good Friday is good news for those who experience suffering, for those who are oppressed. The Gospel of the crucified God is not good news for anyone comfortable with their power or privilege.

Douglas digs in further to the systemic issues, noting the cultural propensity in American history to protect whiteness and to fear black bodies. She reflects on the murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer as a vivid example of the depths of the problem. She boldly asks, where is God’s justice in such a circumstance? She boldly claims hope in the midst of despair. She argues that on Good Friday, God overcame the evil of the cross, so the historical evil against black bodies will not prevail.

James Cone and Kelly Brown Douglas remind us that God is on the side of the oppressed and call out the sin in the systems that perpetuate this violence and the sin of those who respond with ambivalence.


1. Cone, James H. 2013. The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Paperback ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

2. Douglas, Kelly Brown. 2015. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

First Reading

Commentary on Isaiah 52:13—53:12

Anne Stewart

The poetry of Isaiah provides some of the most evocative language and imagery within Scripture to shape the imagination of the faithful.

On Good Friday, as Christians meditate on the brutal suffering and death of Jesus, the poetry of Isaiah 53 offers poignant and puzzling reflections that illumine the character of God.

Isaiah 53 is one of four texts in the book of Isaiah that are often termed the “Servant Songs” (see also Isaiah 42:1-9; Isaiah 49:1-7; Isaiah 50:4-9). Throughout Second Isaiah, the references to the servant are shrouded in mystery. While scholars debate the place and function of these texts within the book, they have sparked rich reflection in the interpretative tradition.

The precise identity of this servant is unclear. The servant is named as God’s chosen one, in whom God delights and upon whom God’s spirit rests (Isaiah 42:1). The servant has been called by God before his birth on a mission to glorify God and restore Israel (49:1-5). Furthermore, the servant is a light to the nations through whom God’s salvation will reach the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). For centuries, interpreters have debated the identity of this servant, whether Israel, a remnant of Israel, the prophet Isaiah, the Persian king Cyrus (see also Isaiah 45:1), or the crucified Jesus (Matthew 12:18-21; Luke 22:37). Yet the Servant Songs are inherently ambiguous about the identity of the servant, and the search for an irrefutable interpretation of the servant’s identity is not nearly the most interesting question about these texts.

Isaiah 53, like the other Servant Songs and the book of Isaiah as a whole, is poetry, and appreciation of its poetic form must be a central part of reading the text. With respect to the identity of the servant, for example, the poem resists a determinative identification of this figure. Rather, it calls upon the reader to meditate on the character of the servant and, by extension, the character of God.

The servant embodies a series of tragic paradoxes: he is exalted (52:13) yet despised (53:3); he is lifted up (52:13) yet struck down (53:4); there is nothing desirable in his appearance (53:2) yet he will have a portion among the great (53:12); he is weak (53:3) yet will divide the spoil with the strong (53:12). The poem reverberates between these images of ironic reversals: the exalted one is laid low; the lowly one has a place among the great.

The Hebrew text employs a series of wordplays across the poem that further highlight the servant’s paradoxical condition. His presence leaves the kings speechless, and they shut their mouths (52:15), while the servant does not open his own mouth (53:7). The servant bears the iniquity of the people, who are like sheep gone astray (53:6) while he is like the silent sheep led to slaughter (53:7). The people will see his marred appearance (52:13, from the root r-‘-h, “to see”) yet he will indeed live to see his offspring (53:10). Through such subtle language cues, the poem ties together these disparate images and underscores the surprising nature of this servant. He is marred, disfigured, even grotesque, and yet holds an inherent attraction and power such that the powerful are drawn to him and the culpable delivered by him.

The servant’s character reveals something of the surprising character of God, who is glorified by the wounded one and who allows the suffering of a single righteous servant to atone for the sins of many. The poem sparks a sense of reverent astonishment at this figure and this God, whose actions have implications for us. As the voice of the poem shifts from a singular first-person (“See, my servant shall prosper,” 52:13) to third-person description to first-person plural, it locates the actions of God and the servant as directly touching we who read: “he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed” (53:5). The greatest power of this poem lies not in chasing the identity of the servant but in allowing the poetry to move us to humility and awe at the workings of God.

We should be clear that this text describes a figure in the past or in the near-term future; its mode of prophecy is not long-range prediction. Thus, the immediate referent of Isaiah 53 is not Jesus. Yet it is also clear that early Christians looked to this passage as a way to understand the surprising character of Jesus’ ministry and the God to whom his ministry bears witness.

Acts 8 recounts just such an exchange between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, who is reading Isaiah 53. The eunuch, like many interpreters before and after him, is struggling to understand the text. When Philip comes upon him, he asks if the eunuch understands what he is reading, to which he replies, “How can I unless I have someone to guide me?” He asks Philip if the servant refers to the prophet or to someone else. In response Philip began to speak, “and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35).

Philip does not necessarily say that the servant of Isaiah 53 is Jesus. We know little about Philip’s exegesis. But, starting with this scripture, he proclaims to the eunuch the good news. In this sense, Philip is a model for contemporary Good Friday preachers, who, starting with this scripture, must also proclaim the good news about Jesus.

There is an opportunity to exegete this text faithfully, mindful of the eunuch’s astute observation that readers — and the parishioners in every pew — will need a guide to understand it. As we have seen, the text is deliberately ambiguous, and this is part of its beauty. Yet starting with this text, which surely reveals to us an aspect of the character of God, we can proclaim the good, surprising, counterintuitive news about the God who suffered for our iniquities and was pierced for our transgressions.


Commentary on Psalm 22

Jerome Creach

Psalm 22 is a prayer of complaint that, perhaps more than any psalm, serves as a link between the Old Testament and the story of Jesus’ passion. 1

Indeed, this psalm is an appropriate lectionary reading for Good Friday because the Gospels cite and allude to it at least five times in the crucifixion account. It is important to recognize, however, that Psalm 22 is not important simply because it appears in the New Testament. Rather, the New Testament writers drew from it because of its profound expressions of suffering and faith.

Psalm 22 has “an intensity and a comprehensiveness” that is almost unequaled among psalms of this type.2 The psalm has two main parts:  (1) a prayer for help in verses 1-21a; and (2) a song of praise in verses 21b-31.  Both of these sections have two prominent divisions in which repetition of a main theme, sometimes with exact vocabulary, strengthens the psalm’s expression of both complaint and praise. Verses 1-11 has two complaints (verses 1-2, 6-8), each of which contains some of the most striking language in the Psalms. The psalm opens with the famous cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

At the other end of this section the psalmist complains, “I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people” (verse 6). In both cases, however, the complaint is followed by an extended confession of trust that recalls God’s protection in the past (verses 3-5, 9-11). The first confession of trust is corporate (“In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them,” verse 4) and second individual and personal (“Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast,” verse 9).

The prayer for help in verses 12-21a focuses on the nature of the psalmist’s trouble. Verses 12-13 and 16a include images of animals that circle the psalmist waiting to devour and destroy (“bulls encircle me,” verse 12; “dogs are all around me,” verse 16a). These images are followed in both cases by complaints of physical weakness: “I am poured out like water” (verse 14); “my tongue sticks to my jaws” (verse 15a); “I can count all my bones” (verse 17). The section concludes with a concatenation of petitions for God to be near and to save from the sword, the dog, and the lion (verses 19-21a).

The second major portion of the psalm turns to praise and assurance that God has heard and answered. This section offers praise and thanksgiving that matches the repeated calls for help in verses 1-21a. Verse 21b responds tersely to the complaints of verses 1-18 by saying “From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.” The rest of the psalm then promises praise to God, promises that progress from the psalmist’s profession before worshippers (verses 22-25) to the praise of those who “sleep in the earth” (verse 29).

The psalmist’s promise of praise dominates verses 22-26. Twice the psalmist pledges to honor God by recalling God’s goodness (verse 22) and by making vows in the midst of the congregation (verse 25). After both promises of praise the psalmist then declares God’s past goodness to those in trouble and those of lowly estate (“the afflicted,” verse 24; “the poor” and “those who seek him,” verse 26; the word translated “afflicted” and the word translated “poor” are actually the same, ?an? ). Verses 27-31 then expand the promise of praise so that every person in human history is included: “all the families of the nations” (verse 27), “all who sleep in the earth” (verse 29), and “future generations” (verse 30).

The connection between Psalm 22 and the story of Jesus’ suffering and death is natural given the extensive description of suffering the psalm contains. Perhaps the most obvious connection between the passion story and Psalm 22 is Jesus’ cry of God-forsakenness: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). Other portions of the psalm provide an outline of the experience of Jesus on the cross.

Mark 15:29 (Matthew 27:39) implies the language of Psalm 22:7 in the description of passersby at the crucifixion:

“All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads.”

Matthew 27:43 also frames the taunts of the religious leaders with an allusion to Psalm 22:8:

“Commit your cause to the LORD;
let him deliver —
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

In all four Gospels (Mark 15:24; Matthew 27:35; Luke 23:34; John 19:24) the description of the soldiers’ activity beneath the cross draws on Psalm 22:18:

“they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

In addition to these examples, John 19:28 probably has Psalm 22:15 in mind when reporting that Jesus says, “I am thirsty” in order “to fulfill scripture.” The scripture fulfilled is most likely Psalm 22:15.

Though the original setting of Psalm 22 had nothing to do with the passion of Jesus, a Messianic reading is a natural result of the psalm’s extensive expression of suffering and its far-reaching declaration of hope. The psalm “explodes the limits” of poetic expression and thus expands the Old Testament understanding of God, human life, and death.3

Not only does the psalmist cry out to God with unparalleled expressions of pain and loss (verse 1), but the writer also expresses hope in something close akin to resurrection (verses 29-30). Thus, Psalm 22 is appropriate for the hope that accompanies Jesus’ passion as well as the grief. It anticipates a vision of God who holds the believer even after death that will only be expressed fully centuries later.  


1 This commentary was first published on the site on April 6, 2012.

2James L. Mays, Psalms (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching; Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994), p. 107.

3Ellen F. Davis, “Exploding the Limits: Form and Function in Psalm 22,” JSOT 53 (1992), 102-103.

Second Reading

Commentary on Hebrews 10:16-25

Amy L.B. Peeler

It takes a certain amount of gumption to enter an unfamiliar space.

The first day of school, a new country, a quiet church service — all demand a willingness to enter into the unknown. In this climactic passage, the author of Hebrews invites his audience to do the same: “Let us enter into the holiest place (Hebrews 10:19).” This is a big request, but he is not asking them to do anything that Jesus has not already done. A grand entrance, Christologically and anthropologically, provides the theme for this Good Friday passage.

Jeremiah redux

The lectionary reading begins with Hebrews’ second presentation of Jeremiah’s New Covenant passage. The first edition in Hebrews 8 is the most extended citation of Israel’s Scriptures in the New Testament. For the author of Hebrews, God’s promise of a New Covenant serves to show that the first was not going to last forever.

This second version seems very much like a summarized reminder of what has come before. The author repeats only about a verse and a half of the four he had previously cited, and even in these he both condenses longer phrases (with the house of Israel, 8:10) to shorter ones (with them, 10:16) and also switches synonymous words (minds, hearts).

Although much is repeated, the highlights of Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 10 serve to emphasize a different aspect of the citation. In this instance, the focus is not the sunset of the old covenant, but the bright dawn of the new. Lawlessness and sin of the people have been replaced with God’s laws in the people. Jeremiah serves as the corroborating witness for what the author has already argued, namely that Jesus’ offering brings complete sanctification and perfection (10:10-14). Or, better said, the Holy Spirit through Jeremiah’s words (10:15) testifies to that complete purification — the good goes in, the bad goes out.

If the bad will never be remembered again, there is no need for the offerings that only serve to remind people of their sin (10:18, referring back to 10:3). God (8:10) and/or/as the Holy Spirit (10:15) (such confusion might necessitate a doctrine in several hundred years’ time) promises to Jeremiah that such restorative forgiveness is coming. The author of Hebrews can now say, it has come.


In their forgiven and sanctified state, they can now go into holiness. The author’s language for this space has become messy in the textual tradition. At times, it is “holy place” and at others it is “holy of holies,” (9:2-3), which has raised some ambiguity as to which part of the tabernacle he imagines his audience entering.

Whether it be the section for priests or the section for the high priest, they get to come closer to God. They pass through a veil (10:20).  If any in the audience are non-priests, women, or Gentiles, this is a new reality. That is not to say that Israelite religion had no way for anyone other than priests to connect with God, yet it is striking to use cultic imagery for everyone to connect with God.

They can all approach boldly because of the blood of Jesus. As the sprinkled blood allowed the people to solidify their covenant with God (Exodus 24 cited in Hebrews 9:20), so too does the blood of Jesus allow these people to share in the New Covenant. As the priests took blood to approach God’s altar, so too does Jesus’ blood allow them to approach God’s altar.

Yet their approach made possible with Jesus’ blood is not just more of the same. The way they will tread has just been inaugurated. It is new.

Their access is possible because of Jesus’ flesh. This access is a living way.

The author is not solely talking about the cross here. Jesus’ blood was shed there, but that was the place of his death, not his living. It was an end point, not a path. Because Jesus became a trailblazer, a pioneer, was raised from the dead and went into God’s presence (9:24), the boldness to enter the holy place is possible because the Jesus who died is also the Jesus who was raised and ascended to the right hand of God. His shed blood and resurrected flesh make the bold entry to God’s holy place possible.1

And that is not all Jesus does. In addition to granting access to God’s holy place, he also keeps his followers there.

The author has said they have boldness to go in; now, in verse 21, he also says they have a great priest over the house of God.  This is Jesus, of course, but it is interesting that he is now called simply priest rather than high priest. Could it be that the author associates his high priesthood with his offering of himself, but here he has in mind his perpetual priesthood, in which he intercedes for those who are following him (7:25)?

Because they continually have this great priest, who has made them pure and prays for their growing continuing purity, they can hold fast their confession without wavering. They can endure. They can do so because, the author says, the one who promised is faithful.

God has promised rest (4:1), an inheritance (6:17), a New Covenant (8:6; 9:15). Because God has proven faithful to the ancestors of Israel (Hebrews 6:13–17) and to Jesus (Hebrews 1–2; 5, 7), God can be trusted to bring about the promises made to this community. As they trust God’s faithfulness, depending on their great ever-present priest, they can hold fast to hope.


As they come in and hold fast, the author assumes they will do so together. All of the exhortative verbs in this section are plurals. At this point, however, that communal assumption becomes explicit. The author wants them, stated positively, to look out for and encourage one another, and also, stated negatively, not to desert one another. If they disregard the poor habits of those who no longer assemble together, they can, as embers in a fire, stimulate each other toward good things.

This mundane encouragement is so important because there is one more aspect of the “approach” theme. The “Day” is drawing near, namely the day of God’s judgment. They need one another’s help to remain where they have already entered, and the great priest will be praying forever for them all.


  1. See David M. Moffitt, Atonement of the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Brill, 2011

Alternate Second Reading

Commentary on Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Richard Carlson

Hebrews has the most intricate Christology in the New Testament.1

It presents a high Christology in which Christ is the agent of creation and the exalted Son of God and High Priest installed at God’s right hand (especially see the opening of 1:1-4). Yet at the same time, Hebrews stresses how the enfleshed Christ shares every aspect of our humanity with the exception of sin (2:17-18; 4:15). Both emphases also serve as motivational Christology in which the varied presentations of Christ stimulate our perseverance in faithfulness and obedience (12:1-4). All of these Christological elements come together in this Good Friday lectionary text.

Our text opens by presenting dual identities for Jesus as Son of God and High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). His identity as Son of God builds on the Old Testament concept that the Davidic king was regarded as son of God, i.e., God’s regent ruling on earth, especially as presented in Psalm 2 (quoted in Hebrews 1:2, 5; 5:5). In the Old Testament, however, the king and the high priest were completely separate offices as the former was a descendant of Judah and the latter a descendant of Levi. Jesus occupies both positions so that he not only rules the cosmos but also offers sacrificial intercession on our behalf. The image of Jesus passing through the heavens (4:14) builds on these dual identities. As Son, his passing through the heavens involved his fore-mentioned exaltation and installation (1:3-4; 2:9-10). As High Priest, he passes through the heavenly sanctuary and its curtain to perform his priestly duties (6:19-20; 8:1-3; 9:11-12,23-24; 10:19-22). The exhortation at the end of 4:14 (that we hold fast to our confession) is not simply a matter of our belief in Jesus. It also is an exhortation to live out this confession in our persistent, obedient, faithfulness.

Our High Priest’s solidarity with us and sympathy towards us include human weakness and testing which Jesus experienced. For the author of Hebrews, weakness on both our part and Jesus’ part is multifaceted including physical weakness whose end is death (2:9,14-15), social ostracism and abuse (10: 32-34; 12:3-4), and susceptibility to sin (2:17-18; 9:26-28). The only difference between Jesus and us is that Jesus was without sin which enables him to offer sacrifice on behalf of our sins as both the ultimate High Priest and the ultimate sacrifice (2:17; 7:27).

Again, this Christological presentation has a motivational intent. We are now exhorted to approach the divine throne with boldness because it is a throne of grace where we will find mercy, grace, and help throughout our perilous, earthly pilgrimage (Hebrews 4:16). This is a stark reversal of Old Testament sanctuary theology. Only the high priest was able to enter the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. Now, however, we are invited to approach the divine throne with boldness to receive all the divine benefits which flow from our High Priest’s sacrifice.

Hebrews 5:7-9 expands on Jesus’ dual identities as Son of God and High Priest. Part of Jesus’ priestly service involved offering up prayers and supplications while identifying fully with humanity (5:7a; note how the technical term “offer up” was also used in 5:1,3 in connection to human priestly service). The exact content of Jesus’ prayers is not directly reported here. Some have sought to connect Jesus’ loud cries and tears in 5:7 with Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane that the cup of death would be taken from him (Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42). Such a struggle with his fateful death, however, does not fit the theological presentation of Jesus in Hebrews. The thrust here is the emotional depth of his prayers not for his deliverance but for our deliverance as part of his priestly service (2:9; 6:20; 7:25,27; 9:24; 10:12).

A related theological point entails the description of God as “the One who was able to save from death” (Hebrews 5:7). Again, Jesus is not praying that he would avoid death. Rather, he is praying to the One who will save him out of the reality of death through his resurrection and exaltation. Thus Jesus is modeling ultimate trust in and reverent submission to the One who has ultimate power over death as part of his priestly service. He rescues us from death through his own death (2:9,14-15; 9:16).

In Hebrews 5:8 the author is putting his own Christological spin on the link between suffering and learning in Greco-Roman morality. It was commonly understood that moral character was learned and formed through adversity. Here Jesus learns obedience through his experiencing of suffering even though he is God’s Son. His intimate and lofty relationship with God does not render him immune from either suffering or obedience. Instead, his mission as High Priest involves obedience to God’s designs by suffering onto death (Hebrews 13:12). Because this remains motivational Christology, Jesus stands as our paradigm so that we too learn obedience through our experiences of suffering even though we share relational intimacy as God’s children (2:10; 12:6-8).

The result of Jesus’ educational experiences is expressed in Hebrews 5:9 which is unfortunately obscured by English translations which present Jesus as “made perfect” (NRSV, NIV, RSV, KJB). The focus here (and throughout Hebrews) is not moral perfect but soteriological completeness. “Jesus is made complete by his death and exaltation to heavenly glory, so that he now serves as high priest forever at God’s right hand. Others are made complete when they go where Jesus has gone, following their forerunner into the presence of God.”1 Thus Jesus is both the source and the goal of eternal salvation.

Within the context of Good Friday, the centrality of Jesus’ solidarity with humanity and his sacrificial suffering on behalf of humanity stand as central components of this text. In going to his death, Jesus does not renounce his identity as God’s Son and High Priest. Rather, he demonstrates and enacts his identity so that we would experience the salvation he accomplishes for us. As our paradigm, we too embrace the way of the cross to enact our faith, obedience, and perseverance in the midst of weakness and suffering.


1 Commentary first published on this site on March 25, 2016.

2 Craig Koester, Hebrews, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 36 (New York: Doubleday, 2001), p. 123.