A great–grandmother in California has donated more than 200 pints of blood. Margaret Delfino, who began giving blood in 1954, gave her 200th pint in 2009. An ovarian cancer survivor, she wishes more individuals would give, pointing out, “It can mean the difference between life and death for some people.” She encourages her own family to donate, and she and a granddaughter have a date every eight weeks to do so at a local blood bank.
For many, Margaret Delfino’s blood has doubtless given the gift of life. God’s gift of eternal life is made possible by the blood of Christ. In today’s reading, the events of Passion Week head for a climax.
To begin, Judas accomplished his act of treachery. He let the religious leaders know where they could find Jesus that night, and they showed up with a mob to arrest Him. Judas’ kiss has become an idiom for betrayal by a friend, but it was unnecessary. Jesus identified Himself, did not resist, and even undid the impetuous violence done on His behalf by Peter.
The trials Jesus endured highlight His innocence and the guilt of His accusers—both Jews and Gentiles—and the unfaithfulness of those for whom He was to die—not only religious leaders but also His disciples. As He stood trial, out in the courtyard the future “rock of the church” was denying His Lord three times, even though he had been explicitly warned he would do so that night. Thankfully, Peter’s bitter sorrow wasn’t the end of that story (see John 21:15–23).
Meanwhile, Jesus suffered torture at the hands of the Roman soldiers and two show trials. The soldiers’ mockery showed some familiarity with His ministry—they seem to relish inflicting pain on their helpless prisoner. The Jewish Sanhedrin interpreted Jesus’ few words as blasphemy. Herod hoped to get Him to put on a show, which He refused to do. And Pilate played political games, passing the buck to Herod before condemning Jesus to death in a pragmatic response to the crowd’s demands.