As I read in the Gospel of John of the hours before the crucifixion of Jesus, I am always struck by the sounds of that day. There is the sound of Judas’s words of betrayal; the sounds of soldiers and officers carrying lanterns and torches and weapons; the sound of Pilate’s voice as he asks again and again, “Are you the King of the Jews?”; the sounds of Peter’s denials; the shouting of the crowd’s accusations; the sound of a cock crowing, piercing and loud.
I imagine many of these sounds to be chaotic — an out of control mob full of rage and anger.
But throughout, there is also the sound of Jesus. His spoken words and his witness to the truth. And, in the end, the tenderness of his words to his mother, “Woman behold your son!” — and to his beloved disciple, “Behold your mother.” I can hear the sound of his breath as he declares, “I thirst,” and finally, “It is finished.”
In contrast to the violent sounds of the crowd, the sounds of Jesus are quiet, calm, gentle and even comforting. For in the solemnity of the events of Good Friday, we hear the sounds of the coming resurrection and the fulfillment of Scripture.
I find in the last few words that Jesus speaks the sound of mercy and forgiveness — a deep, fulfilling silence.