Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday

        Having endured a sleepless night of false accusations before an unfair and prejudiced court, Jesus was hauled to his feet early on Friday morning, and dragged to the Praetorium before the violent Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.  For the next three hours or so, Jesus endured further false accusations from the envious Jews and easily-swayed crowd.  He endured the skeptic questioning of Pilate and then the mocking requests for miracles from Herod.  He suffered a severe scourging because of Pilate's cowardly attempt to appease the crowd's bloodlust at his expense.  Then, he heard the verdict his Father had told him would come, "Crucify him," (Mark 15:14).
        Before carrying his own cross on his recently scourged back, Jesus was mocked by a whole Roman battalion who had fashioned a crown of thorns and had driven the spikes deep into his scalp.  Because of the blood loss, the exhaustion, and the lack of sleep and nourishment, Jesus stumbled beneath the weight of the cross on his way to his own execution. 
        By 9:00am, a man named Simon had helped him to the public hill on which he would die for the sins of the world, and drink the cup of God's wrath as His Father had told him to do.  For the first three hours of his crucifixion, he endured further mocking from everyone, including the criminals dying next to him.  At noon, as blood continued to flow from his hands and feet, all of creation reacted to the dying Son, and the sky went dark for three hours.  Finally, at 3:00p, unable to breathe any more on the cross, Jesus cried out, breathed his last and died.  The earth began to shake, and across the hill in the temple as the Jews were preparing the Passover lambs for the evening sacrifice, they felt the earthquake and heard a crashing and ripping sound from within the Sanctuary.  The veil covering the Most Holy Place was torn open.  The skeptical and cruel centurion charged with that day's executions responded to the events surrounding the death of this Jesus, King of the Jews, by saying, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39).  It was finished, He was dead.
        More than 500 years prior to the day Jesus died, the prophet Isaiah said of Him, "He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.  For he bore the sin of many," (Isa 53:12).  Have a good Friday, and I encourage you to think about the Son's obedience to the Father that resulted in an awesome gift - forgiveness and eternal life for all who believe in Jesus Christ.

        "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," (John 3:16).  Happy Easter.

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