Holy Week - Friday
At 3 PM on Friday Jesus Christ said, ďIt is Finished,Ē gave up His spirit, and died. At that very moment in the temple the sacrificial lamb was slaughtered and sacrificed, the shofar was played, and all of Israel paused to contemplate the sacrifice that was made for the remediation of their sins.
Christís Crucifixion and Death
Matthew 27:27-56, Mark 15:16-41, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:17-30
I donít even know what to write.
There is no aspect of this account that isnít a sign of Christís deep and abiding love for you and me.
Today was the fulfillment of events that had been planned before the foundation of the world was even started. (1 Peter 1:20 and Ephesians 1:4) These events were necessitated by our sin: my sin, your sin, and everyoneís sin. Itís not just Adam or Eve. Itís all of us.
The mob thought they were carried forth simply by their emotion.
Caiaphas unknowingly fulfilled his own prophecy.
The Sanhedrin thought they were being just.
The Pharisees thought they were right.
The soldiers thought they were displaying their might.
Pilate thought he was keeping out of trouble.
Herod thought he was ruling justly.
Many thought this was the last time they would ever see Jesus.
Satan thought he was finally going to win.
But Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. Jesus knew The Father had His back. Jesus knew the Spirit would empower Him to endure all things. Christís love compelled Him to endure everything that was happening to Him today for what He knew what was to come.
I donít think there is any movie rendition of the crucifixion of Christ that can properly convey everything that Christ experienced on this day. While I admit Christ must have physically suffered there had to be a look in His eye, a countenance in His face, an aspect of His presence that said, ďI can do this. I know what Iím doing. I know why Iím doing it. Itís going to be okay. Itís all worth it.Ē
We convey this model of self-sacrifice in super-hero movies and in movies where people are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. The camera zooms in close to show us a look in their eye that conveys, ďI know this is going to hurt, I know that Iím going to die, but I know that youíre going to live, and Iíll endure anything to be sure that you live.Ē If we, who are mere humans, can understand this concept then I KNOW that Christ understood it as He endured the cross for a short time so that we might live with Him for eternity.
Please do not hear that I wish to minimize anything that Christ endured on my behalf. I just see the Creator of the Universe as someone who COULD endure these things, who CHOSE to endure these things, and who KNEW there were so many good things ahead BECAUSE He endured these things.
I hear this same patient endurance reported by martyrs who are given the chance to recant their faith or die for their faith. They donít go out screaming, they donít go out pleading for their lives, they donít go out yelling curses on their killers Ė they go out worshipping the One they know theyíre going to see face to face in mere moments. They go out in peace. They go out with compassion on those who donít know Jesus the close, personal, intimate way they know Him.
Iíve always been overwhelmed at the thought of the pain and ridicule that Christ endured for me. I so appreciate that He died for me, but the thought that he endured so much more than just death. Hereís a list of some of the things that He also endured:
His beard was pulled out in fistfuls. (Isaiah 50:6)
He was mocked. (Matthew 27:27-31)
He was punched. (Luke 22:63-65)
He was hit with a staff. (Mark 15:19)
They blindfolded Him and beat Him. (Luke 22:63-65)
He was scourged Ė probably being left very close to death. (John 19:1)
They hurled insults at Him. (Matthew 27:39)
They spit in His face. (Matthew 27:67)
They slapped Him. (Matthew 27:67)
The Burial of Jesus
Matthew 27:57-66, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:31-42
Sometimes we miss the significance of what Joseph did approaching Pilate and asking for Christís body. Joseph was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin Ė the council that had falsely condemned Christ. This action would have brought his hidden faith out into the open. I can only imagine the consequences he would have suffered for this demonstration of love and care for Jesus Christ. Did he lose his position on the Sanhedrin? How many friendships did he lose? How did this affect his life financially?
How many times do we keep our support of Jesus Christ quiet? How many times do we sit on our true feelings, our true experiences, our true hurts, our true sins because weíre afraid of the consequences of making them public? What are we afraid of losing?
Jesus once said, ďWhoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.Ē
Iíve often wondered if Josephís tomb was ever used again. Did he take an add out in the paper, ďSlightly-used tomb available for immediate purchaseÖĒ
James E. Bogoniewski, Jr.