The Condemnation of the World

A Holy Supper Address by James P. Cooper

            And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death (MAR 14:64).

  1. We are doing two things this evening:
  2. Reenacting the Last Supper in memory of the Lord’s final gesture of hope and promise of heaven to the disciples,
  3. and remembering that night which was the culmination of all the hatred and anger towards Jesus by those who feared the new truths He taught, and could think of no other way to deal with them than to condemn Him to death.
  4. Condemnation is a recurring theme in the Word. The condemnation of evil and the evildoer, for example:
  5. Adam and Eve forced to leave the garden of Eden to toil in the world because they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  6. When the children of Israel were attacking Jericho, they were carefully warned that all the treasure found was for the Lord; but Achan was overcome with temptation and kept a garment and a wedge of gold hidden under his tent. This caused Joshua to fail when attacking Ai, and when the sin was discovered, Achan, his whole family, and all his possessions were destroyed.
  7. The books of the prophets are an almost continuous list of the sins of Israel, and dire warnings of what will happen to them as individuals and as a nation if they do not repent.

III. But in spite of the warnings, the children of Israel did not repent. They continued in their idolatrous behavior; they drew farther and farther from the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic law by interpreting, modifying, until there was nothing left.

  1. You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (MAT 15:6-9)
  2. The extent to which those people preferred the doctrines of men to the doctrines of the Word was represented by what they did to the Lord, who came to them as the Divine Truth.
  3. And it was because of their hatred of the Word, and the life of charity that it leads to, that they were condemned.

IV.But what, exactly was condemned?

  1. Note that the phrase “Condemnation of the world” is somewhat ambiguous. It can mean both God’s condemnation of us for our sinful ways; or it can refer to the way the world turned away from Him , or condemned Him that resulted in the crucifixion. Both meanings are correct in their proper context.
  2. Here, however, we are speaking of God’s condemnation of the world because of the evil states of humanity: For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (JOH 3:17)
  3. Clearly, from the context, we can see that He was not speaking of the physical world, of the earth, but of mankind.
  4. He came to save all people; He came to fight against and destroy not the Romans, but evil itself, present in the world.
  5. The Lord’s highest love, the love that motivated Him to take on the Human form and come to earth in the first place, was His Divine Love for the salvation of human souls.
  6. If we in the church look to the Lord for our example, then, we can see that it is the responsibility of the church to condemn evil in all its forms in the abstract.
  7. To teach what evil is, and how to discover it in one’s self; to teach the means of asking for the Lord’s help in removing it; to teach the fear of hell as a mediate good.
  8. It is also the responsibility of the church to reach out with forgiveness to those who have discovered the evil in their own lives and who wish to flee from it.
  9. To listen with compassion and understanding; to assist without justifying; to give the promise of heaven and hope of eternal life as encouragement.
  10. The Lord came to earth not only in order to draw near unto hell so as to fight it, but also so He could draw nearer to us, so that He could know us, so that we could have confidence that He would know our own suffering, our own striving.
  11. The Lord introduced the Holy Supper to His disciples so that they, and we, could use it to draw nearer to the Lord; so that we could communicate with Him our desire to condemn the evil that we find in ourselves, and with His help, be saved.
  12. In closing, let us remember what happened when the Lord came upon the crowd that was about to stone the woman who was caught in adultery.
  13. By His question, “Who among you is without sin,” the Lord showed His compassion and understanding for our fallen state; but at the same time, He condemned the evil of adultery by admonishing her to “go, and sin no more.”
  14. Let us, therefore, resolve to condemn evil and falsity wherever we see it, either in ourselves or others; but at the same time let us also resolve to show compassion and forgiveness to those who are suffering in sin, let us carefully distinguish between the sinner and the sin.
  15. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (JOH 8:10-11)


Hear now from the Word of the Lord as it is written.…

1st Lesson:  Luke 22:39-71; 23

The prayer in the Garden

Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. {40} When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” {41} And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, {42} saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” {43} Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. {44} And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. {45} When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. {46} Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane

{47} And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. {48} But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” {49} When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” {50} And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. {51} But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. {52} Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? {53} “When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Peter denies Jesus, and weeps bitterly

{54} Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. {55} Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. {56} And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” {57} But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” {58} And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” {59} Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” {60} But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. {61} And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” {62} So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus mocked and beaten

{63} Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. {64} And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy !Who is the one who struck You?” {65} And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.

Jesus faces the Sanhedrin

{66} As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, {67} “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. {68} “And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. {69} “Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” {70} Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” {71} And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

Jesus handed over to Pontius Pilate

(Luke 23) Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. {2} And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” {3} Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him and said, “It is as you say.” {4} So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.” {5} But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

Jesus faces Herod

{6} When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. {7} And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. {8} Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. {9} Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. {10} And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. {11} Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. {12} That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

Taking the place of Barabbas

{13} Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, {14} said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; {15} “no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. {16} “I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” {17} (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast). {18} And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”; {19} who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. {20} Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. {21} But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” {22} Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.” {23} But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. {24} So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. {25} And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

The King on a cross

{26} Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. {27} And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. {28} But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. {29} “For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ {30} “Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ {31} “For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” {32} There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. {33} And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. {34} Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. {35} And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” {36} The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, {37} and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” {38} And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. {39} Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” {40} But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? {41} “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” {42} Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” {43} And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus dies on the cross

{44} Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. {45} Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. {46} And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ “ Having said this, He breathed His last. {47} So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” {48} And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. {49} But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Jesus buried in Joseph’s tomb

{50} Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. {51} He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. {52} This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. {53} Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. {54} That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. {55} And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. {56} Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Amen.

2nd Lesson:

DP 114. In all Christian Churches this tenet of doctrine has been accepted, that before a man approaches the Holy Communion he shall examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins, and do the work of repentance by desisting from them and rejecting them because they are from the devil; and that otherwise his sins are not forgiven, and he is condemned. Although the members of the English Church hold the doctrine of faith alone, yet in the exhortation to the Holy Communion they openly teach self examination, the acknowledgment and confession of sins, repentance and newness of life, threatening those who do not comply in words which declare that “otherwise the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas, and fill them with all iniquity and destroy both body and soul” .

The Germans, the Swedes and the Danes, who also hold the doctrine of faith alone, teach the same in the exhortation to the Holy Communion, also threatening that otherwise they will render themselves subject to eternal condemnation for mingling the holy and the profane. This is read out by the priest in a loud voice before those who are about to observe the Holy Supper, and is listened to by them with full acknowledgment that it is so.

Nevertheless, when these same persons the same day listen to preaching concerning faith alone to the effect that the Law does not condemn them because the Lord has fulfilled it for them, and that of themselves they cannot do any good except what is merit-seeking and thus that works have nothing of salvation in them, but faith only, they return home entirely forgetful of their former confession and rejecting it in proportion as they think from the preaching concerning faith alone.

Now which doctrine is true, the first or the second? – for two things contrary to each other cannot both be true, the first stating that without self-examination, recognition, acknowledgment, confession and rejection of sins, thus without repentance, there is no forgiveness of them, thus no salvation, but eternal condemnation; the second stating that such things contribute nothing to salvation because the Lord made full satisfaction for all the sins of men by the passion of the cross, for those who have faith, and that those who have faith only, being fully confident that this is true, and trusting in the imputation of the Lord’s merit, are without sins, and appear before God like those with faces washed and shining brightly.

It is clear from this that it is the common religious belief of all the Churches in the Christian world that man should examine himself, should see and acknowledge his sins and then desist from them; and that otherwise there is no salvation but condemnation.

Consider this with some degree of understanding; and if you have any religious principles you will see that repentance from sins is the way to heaven, that faith separate from repentance is not faith, and that those who are not in faith because they are not repentant are on the way to hell. Amen.

Here end the lessons. Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it. Amen.

Copyright General Church of the New Jerusalem
Author Rev. James P. Cooper, M. Div.
Page updated October 21, 2008

Vinegar and Gall

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (JOH 19:29, 30)

  1. We love to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection and victory over death on Easter morning, but the sad fact is that He could not have conquered death unless He had first been murdered by His own people.
    1. This is not the aspect of Easter that we like to dwell upon in the New Church.
      1. We acknowledge that in every temptation there must be suffering and doubt concerning the eventual outcome;
      2. we know that we are in our greatest freedom during temptation, for we are then deliberately acting according to spiritual truths against our evil desires;
      3. and we know that the state of the Jewish Church was such that it could not help but express itself in this way;
      4. but still, it hurts to think of the Lord’s pain, and we would much rather focus our attention on His victory, His Glorification, and His ascension into His heavenly kingdom.
    2. However, the gospels treat so fully of the events leading up to and including the crucifixion that we cannot ignore them: they have been given to us in this form, and in this degree of detail for some reason, some spiritual purpose.
  2. Our focus for today is on the two kinds of wine that were offered to the Lord while He was on the cross, and His response to these offers, for in these simple gestures and actions, so carefully recorded in the gospels, a great deal is said about the states of the church at that time, the church to come, and temptations that face everyone who seeks to become a church.
    1. The gospel of Matthew tells us that when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. (MAT 27:33,34)
      1. Immediately after that, they crucified Him. Perhaps the most likely natural reason for them to offer Jesus a drink of vinegar mixed with gall was that, although it was terribly bitter and foul tasting, it provided a certain analgesic or tranquilizing effect to ease the horror of what was to come.
      2. Whatever the natural reasons for the offer, there were deep spiritual reasons behind His refusal.
        1. In general, wine represents the Divine truth, as can be seen from its use in the Holy Supper. Just as there are degrees of truth, so there are degrees of wine, and wine that has gone sour and turned to vinegar represents the lowest degree of truth, truth that has very little of genuine truth remaining but is instead mostly appearances and half-truths. In itself, sour wine or vinegar is acceptable to the Lord, as we shall see in a moment, but when gall was mixed in, it was unacceptable, and He could not drink it because gall, from its bitterness, represents truth mixed with the falsity of evil. (See AE 519:2)
      3. Each and every thing in the Gospels respecting the Lord’s passion, signifies the state of the church at that time in relation to the Lord and the Word; for the Lord was the Word because He was Divine truth; and as the Jews had treated the Word, or Divine truth, so they treated the Lord.
        1. Their giving to the Lord “vinegar mixed with gall,” (MAT 27:34) which was also called “wine mingled with myrrh,” (MAR 15:23) signified the quality of the Divine truth from the Word with the Jewish nation, namely, that it was mingled with the falsity of evil, and thus altogether falsified and adulterated, therefore He would not drink it. (AE 519:2)
        2. The Lord had come to the Jewish Church to bring it new truth to revive it, but that Church rejected Him in favor of those customs and traditions that favored the loves of self and the world, and so, because they had refused Him, He turned away from them and established a new Church.
          1. The nature of that new church is revealed when the Lord was offered a drink of sour wine (or vinegar) for a second time.
  3. A study of the internal sense of these passages reveals that the Lord’s acceptance of the vinegar contains two major representations.
    1. The first is that the vinegar given on a hyssop reed signified the kind of falsity that existed among the gentiles, a falsity that was from ignorance of the truth, in which there was yet something good and useful.
      1. The gentiles were not living strictly according to the Ten Commandments, but there were some who were living a moral life based on those truths they did know, and these, because in their hearts they wanted to do what was right, and in spite of their ignorance, tried to live well, and were those with whom the Lord could establish the Christian Church in conjunction with a small remnant from the Jewish Church.
      2. What made this drink acceptable, was the fact that it was given to Him on a hyssop reed, for a hyssop reed signifies the purification of falsity. This tells us that it was not all gentiles who were acceptable, and among whom the Christian Church would be established, but rather just those who were “upright,” or good in heart, and who, when given the opportunity, would purify their lives of any evils they could see. (See AR 410)
    2. The second major representation of the Lord’s acceptance of the vinegar is a prediction that the new Church which He was establishing to replace the Jewish Church, would not be pure but that in the coming church there would be no genuine truth, but truth mixed with falsities, such as there is with those who separate faith from charity or truth from good (AE 386); for this is what “vinegar” signifies.
      1. Clearly, these passages from the Word are telling us about the kinds of behavior that are and are not acceptable in the sight of the Lord.
    3. Those of us who wish to enter His kingdom upon the completion of our allotted years in this world should pay careful attention to His teachings on the matter.
      1. We know that if we are sincere, and trying to do what is right and helpful, even if we do what is wrong by accident, the Lord looks into our hearts, sees the good intention there, and accepts us.
        1. Sour wine is better than no wine at all.
  4. But what is not acceptable to Him is the bitterness of gall.
    1. Gall is introduced into the wine of our life through the deliberate falsification of the truth:
      1. for example, through mocking or making fun of the truths taught in the Word;
      2. for twisting the truth of the Word around so that it appears to justify what we know to be wrong, but that we wish to do anyhow;
      3. by using fragments of truth from the Word to condemn, to vilify, and harm others;
      4. by deriding anything that disagrees with our own loves or our own particular understanding of the Word,
      5. by holding to the belief that there can only be one possible way to understand any issue, and that is our own way.
    2. What we do to the truth reveals the true state of our internals in the same way that crucifixion of the Lord represented the attitude of the Pharisees and elders of the Jewish Church towards the Word.
      1. In this context, it is useful for us to reflect on the course of our own lives, and ask ourselves where we would have stood on that Friday when the crowd refused to accept Pilate’s judgment that Jesus was innocent, and responded by shouting “Crucify Him!” all the louder.
      2. The thought of where we ourselves might have stood may be uncomfortable, but it is useful if it will lead us to remove the bitterness of gall, the falsity of evil, from our spiritual lives.
  5. There is a bright spot in all this. The Lord’s highest love is the salvation of the human race, and even the passion of the cross could not make Him forget His love for us, could not distract Him from His purpose of bringing us the message of hope and forgiveness.
    1. Just before the death of His body, He said, I thirst (JOH 19:28). The Writings tell us that this means that He came into the world for the purpose of saving mankind, and from His Divine love He willed and desired the salvation of the human race, and so He drank the vinegar, signifying His acceptance of all those who sought to do what was right in spite of their ignorance of the truth. (See AE 519:2)
    2. While we yet live, there is hope that we can change, that we can see the evil and falsity in our lives and remove them, with the Lord’s help. The hyssop, on which the Lord received the vinegar, represents the purification that we must go through if we are to shun evils and falsities and be prepared for heaven.
      1. Hyssop represents the function of external truths, like those found in the sense of the letter of the Word, the Lord’s Prayer and especially the Ten Commandments, as a means of purification.
        1. External truths are used in this way because it is only by means of external truths that we see and recognize evils within ourselves. When we find ourselves daydreaming about something that is not ours, it takes the simple, direct, and powerful external truth, “Thou shalt not steal” to break that sphere and return us back to a state of order.
        2. This works in a way that nothing else does because it is the Lord Himself who reminds us of these simple, basic, truths at critical moments in our lives, and it is He who insinuates a horror for the evil at the same time.
        3. The effect of this is that when the same kind of thought comes again, the feeling of horror returns with it, and so we are able to refrain from the evil more easily because we feel an aversion for it (See AC 7918).
  6. Even as the Lord was suffering on the cross, His thoughts were on us, on how we could be saved from the evils which afflict our lives.
    1. We need to remember that the purpose of Easter was not the sacrifice itself, but the effect that the sacrifice would have on our eternal, spiritual lives, the fact that after making the sacrifice, He rose from the dead by His own power to become the King of Heaven.
    2. As we reflect on the Lord’s sacrifice for the sake of our spiritual lives, we should also think of what we can do to return His selfless love, to be loyal citizens of His Heavenly Kingdom.
      1. Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. {2} And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. {3} His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. {4} And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. {5} But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. {6} “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. {7} “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” (Mat 28:1-7) AMEN.


1st Lesson:  PSA 22:1-18
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? {2} O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. {3} But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. {4} Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. {5} They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. {6} But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. {7} All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, {8} “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” {9} But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. {10} I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God. {11} Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help. {12} Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. {13} They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. {14} I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. {15} My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. {16} For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; {17} I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. {18} They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.  Amen.

2nd Lesson:  John 19:17-30

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, {18} where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. {19} Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. {20} Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. {21} Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”‘ ” {22} Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” {23} Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. {24} They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things. {25} Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. {26} When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” {27} Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. {28} After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” {29} Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. {30} So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.  Amen.

3rd Lesson:  AE 627:15

[We read] in the Gospels :-
They placed a reed in the Lord’s right hand, and afterwards they took the reed and smote His head with it (MAT xxvii. 29, 30; Mark xv. 19);
They put a sponge upon a reed and gave Him vinegar to drink (MAT xxvii. 48; Mark xv. 36).
Those who do not know the spiritual sense of the Word may believe that these and the many other things related of the Lord’s passion involve nothing more than common modes of mockery; as that “they set a crown of thorns upon His head;” that “they parted His garments among them, but not the tunic;” that “they bent the knee before Him” for the sake of mocking Him; and also here, that “they placed a reed in His right hand, and afterwards smote His head with it;” and again, that “they filled a sponge with vinegar, or myrrhed wine, and set it upon a reed, and gave Him to drink.”
But let it be known that all things that are related of the Lord’s passion signify the mocking at Divine truth, and thus the falsification and adulteration of the Word; since the Lord, when He was in the world, was the Divine truth itself, which in the church is the Word; and because the Lord was then the Divine truth, He permitted the Jews to treat Him altogether as they were treating the Divine truth or the Word by falsifying and adulterating it. For they applied all things of the Word to their own loves, and derided every truth that disagreed with their loves, as they did the Messiah Himself, because He did not, according to their explanation and religion, become king over the whole world, and exalt them into glory above all peoples and nations.  Amen.

Copyright General Church of the New Jerusalem, 1982 – 2008
Author, Rev. James P. Cooper, M. Div.
Page last modified October 21, 2008