Biblical Words 
The Revised Common Lectionary gives two sets of readings for the Sunday before Easter, one for “the Liturgy of the Palms” and one for “the Liturgy of the Passion.” (The assumption seems to be that church-goers will miss anything not read on Sunday.) As in previous years I separate these two and present the Passion texts as Good Friday readings. The hope is that Maundy Thursday or Good Friday readings will be attended to – even by Sunday church goers!
The Biblical texts discussed here are those given in the Lectionary for the Liturgy of the Passion (the second Palm Sunday liturgy) rather than those for Good Friday proper. (The Lectionary always reads Isaiah 53 and John’s Passion narrative on Good Friday.)
The Passion According to Matthew
- You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!
- If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.
- He saved others; he cannot save himself.
- He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.
- He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to, for he said, “I am God’s Son.”
- The curtain of the temple (in front of the holy of holies) was torn in two, from top to bottom. (The holiest center of the old Judean order is exposed to the profane world!)
- The earth shook and the rocks were split. (Echoes of Elijah at Mount Sinai, I Kings 19:11-12.)
- Tombs were opened “and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” (See Daniel 12:2, “many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake...”
- “After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many” (verse 53). In Antioch some older people probably reported that they remembered these things.