This Holy WeekÂ has afforded us with yet another chance to ponder just how remarkably profound these events truly wereÂ in the scope of all history and indeed eternity.
Think about the state of affairs of the apostles who had just witnessed the horrible beating, public humiliation and torturous crucifixion of there leader, teacher and friend. I wonder, can you imagine how it must have been?
While sharingÂ inÂ the solemnity and intimacy of celebrating Passover only nights before the disciples were stunned enough by having their esteemed leader strip himself of deserved dignity and stature to wash their feet. DuringÂ the seder the elements that for centuries had always represented the lamb’s body and blood, Â sacrificedÂ and applied as necessary method of deliverance from death, were given NEW meaning. Jesus made a point of stressing that these elements now applied to Him. Jesus told them repeatedly that the Son of Man must suffer and would be going where they could not. But He continued to encourage them with [“I go to prepare a place for you. I will then call you to Myself. Until I return… Do this in remembrance of Me.”] His time was near.
WhatÂ agony Jesus endured during the night in the garden of Gethsemane as He prayed to His Father God, can there be any other way? What utter loneliness must Jesus have felt as His very best friends and followers couldn’t even stay awake with Him at this dark time in His spirit. Â Jesus was even at that timeÂ being betrayed by Judas Iscariot who literally “sold out” His mentor to the enemies for 33 pieces of silver. Jesus knew that. More prophecies being fulfilled. More yet to be met. He was in the waiting room of the torture quickly approaching. His time was still nearer.
The assembly of soldiers sent by the officials defended upon the garden, waking the sleeping friends and causing quite a stir. As a sign to the captors Judas kissed the Lord. “You betray Me with a Kiss?” More of the foretold prophesies received their tic. Peter slashed his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Yet it was the captive Jesus who performed the miracle and miraculously reattached the ear while warning his disciple againstÂ fury and violence.
“Who do you seek?” WHAT a PROFOUND question… even today! Â The words of Jesus inquired. The soldier responded “Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” Â What happened next? Â Jesus responded with “I AM”… those incredible words… the name of the ONE true God… the men fell on their faces in an instant!! Even though they didn’tÂ worship any Jewish God these menÂ couldn’t help fall prostrate before the Almighty. How shocking is that? Still Jesus went as their captive to be brought to a secret night time trial before the Sanhedrin who had already prepared their false witnesses. As He was seized the disciples realized that as Jesus followers they were likely also in danger. They fled. Jesus went still closer to the appointed time.
The mock trial was an agenda driven display of men who claimed to be righteous actually practicing all kinds of unrighteousness on the ONE who really was without sin. The irony. Just as the prophets had revealed the Messiah stood silent before His accusers. Then the next morning brought before Pontus Pilot so that the Religious Persecutors could convince the Roman official to get the government to do the dirty work of actually killing Jesus. Â Next more prophesied events took place; He was severely scourged, mocked, cursed and spit upon, and received beatings such that Jesus scarcely resembled a man but more a hunk of bleeding stripped apart flesh. “by His stripes we are healed”… Isaiah’s revealed Words of God were happening. Oh dear God, were they ever!
And in the wings was Peter… close enough to see, but careful not to be seen or taken into custody himself. Just as Jesus had said, Peter denied he even knew Jesus not one, or twice but even with curses on the third time. A rooster crowed. Peter wept. This was the day Good Friday! Jesus appointed work was underway.
Pilot publicly announced he found no fault in Jesus and attempted to get him released during a release event in which public could choose one prisoner to be set free. But no… “Barrabus the murderer” was the one they chose. As for Jesus the crowd was incitedÂ and yelled “Crucify Him”! Â Pilot after brief discourse with Jesus about truth and Lordship delivered Jesus to the executioners with instructions to place a sign “King of the Jews” at the head of Jesus cross. When someone tried to amend it with “do you mean that ‘he SAYS he is the King of the Jews”? Â Pilot answered “no, I have stated it correctly”. The mockers placed a crown of thorns upon Jesus head and a woven robe to parade Him and add humiliation.
ItÂ was added torture JesusÂ carrying the beam of the cross that would be the instrument of His death through the Via de la Rosa. Large crowds of people who came this day to celebrate Passover were everywhere. Many actually saw Him… the Lamb who was being sacrificed for the sins of all. Jesus was getting even closer step by agonizing step.
Along the route Jesus fell and Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service to help carry the weight of the cross that Jesus human body simply couldn’t do anymore. A woman along the way used her scarf to wipeÂ Jesus face. It is a relief to know there were still some kind hearted people not afraid to minister toÂ Jesus as he approached certain death.
Golgotha — the place of the skull — just outside the wall of Jerusalem that only a week earlier this soon to be executed Jesus had rode into the city filled with throngs of people calling “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” Â O’ what a difference a week makes. There are a few more messianic prophecies being fulfilled in this Holy week!
Here we go… the CROSS! Â THIS is IT! Â The very purpose for which it was necessary that Jesus come to earth and live as a man. To offer Himself as the Perfect Lamb without blemish or spot — sinless — as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Jesus was the ONLY possible sacrifice that could suffice for eternity, because He is eternal. His particular sacrifice is the gift that KEEPS ON GIVING! Â Only Eternal God could apply restitution to justice for all past, present and future sins. Only GOD could do that. Only MAN could die… Jesus humanity was a necessary stage of His existence for the sake of the redemption of sinful mankind. Jesus was all-inclusive in His offer.
Huge nails drove through his writs and ankles and Jesus was lifted up on the cross for all to see. Placed between two criminals who were also being crucified. One which was mocking Jesus, the other who recognized Jesus’ goodness and asked for Jesus’ consideration. “this day you will be with me in Paradise” said Jesus. Even aÂ criminal status/reputationÂ can come out victorious if one has aÂ repentant heart and one can face,Â Â address, repent and receiveÂ forgiveness from the Lord. Â Hanging on the cross, amidst criminals — more anticipated prophesy realized.
Even while suffering and struggling to breath Jesus focused on the needs of a caretaker for his mother. And asked aloud for God to forgive those who were killing Him. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Almost done now.
The sky grew dark. The Sun was up in the sky, it was high noon after all… it just wasn’t “ON”. No, not cloud cover, fog or haze . . .the sun just didn’t put forth it’s light. The miracles of God over nature would surely bring attention to the fact that this was no ordinary crucifixion event, wouldn’t you think?
The darkness of sin’s full weight fell upon Him. . . the Lamb of God . . .Jesus Christ came to deliver and that is what He was doing. All the punishment for sins was accepted by the one who could actually save people by restoring mankind to right relationship with His Father. Holy God requires perfect justice for the sins of man. The LAMB who was Slain was breathing His last. “Unto you do I commit my soul” Jesus said . . . then “IT IS FINISHED” !!!
THERE IT IS >>> THAT KEY MOMENT IN ALL OF HISTORY — the moment when the Perfect Lamb of God, Immanuel–God with Us, who had sacrificed His solely divine status to be born of a virgin and live in the flesh andÂ now… NOW the time had come … he was dying so that others could live. Indeed it was finished!
50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.Â 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.Â 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;â€¦ –Matthew 27:50-52
At that moment the ground quaked and the huge curtain in the Temple was torn… from Top to Bottom and the wall that separated the place of God’s presence was no longer barricaded or only accessible by a select few… Jesus had made a way where there used to be no way. Â No priests or animal sacrifices would ever be needed to pay for the atonement of sins that Jesus had just made once and for all.
This year’s Good Friday Poem I wroteÂ is called:
That Pivotal Moment in Time.
At that pivotal moment in time, ugliness of sin with bloodied flesh on the cross was displayed.
it’s long-standing curse, punishment andÂ death upon Jesus had all been laid.
The transaction completed. Divine judgment meted.
Separation with God then toreÂ forÂ Jesus’ loving redemption, a new way made.
THAT PIVOTAL MOMENT IN TIME Had Â arrived …. Jesus paid it all!