Read John 18
You know the story, we have all read it, heard it told, watched it on the big screen
It is always heart wrenching, profound and life changing.
It is difficult to behold, understand and accept.
The Creator of the Universe, the One who spoke the stars in to being,
is accused and condemned to die, the most violent of deaths.
It has been called:
The Greatest Story Ever Told.
I remember the first time I heard how crucifixion is done. I had known of and thought about the spiritual agony for Jesus being separated from God the Father as He bore the weight of our sin- incomprehensible to me. But that He would choose to endure the physical agony as well, undid me. I can understand physical pain. And this form of death, mastered and perfected by the Romans, was excruciating.
Jesus chose His path… “I am He, the One you seek, He told the guards who had come to arrest Him.”
Jesus endured horrific physical pain and agony for us in the scourging and crucifixion.
Scourging was a specific type of whipping designed to leave the victim bloody, weak in unimaginable pain and close to the point of death. It was required punishment for a convicted criminal.
Jesus was tied to a post, stripped to only a loin cloth and given 39 lashes, because 40 were said to kill a man.
39 lashes with a whip, called a cat of nine tails. a multi-layered whip usually divided into 3 section, with lead ball or pieces of bone braided in. This whip was intended to rip the skin off a criminal.
Jesus knew the physical agony he would endure, as He prayed in the Garden for this cup to pass. He spoke of it to His disciples…
I am He, the One you seek, He said and went willingly…
How did he have the courage to go through this?
We say, because He loves us”
Beyond our comprehension.
His love for us, His love for The Father, and His obedience were costly.
The story continues…
After the scourging, Jesus had to carry His cross up to Golgotha. Beaten, bloody, broken He continued forward on the Calvary Road. Mocked, spit on, ridiculed… He took one step then another toward His crucifixion, dragging the 75-125 lb crossbeam upon which He would die.
Surrendered to the will of His Father
Describing the crucifixion is difficult. Watching to movie “The Passion of Christ” was grueling as I imagined Jesus enduring this.
Crucifixion is brutal. A slow, tortuous way to die; hanging until the body suffocated or went into heart failure. Sometimes the criminal’s legs were broken to hasten the process.
There was block of wood by the criminal’s feet; they would push themselves up to take a breath before their body slouched again the weight being held by nails suspended hands and arms. Eventually being too weak to continue, or due to broken legs, the criminal would die by suffocating.
Jesus was nailed to the cross, willingly…
He hung there, weak, beaten, bloody, in physical and spiritual anguish as He took upon Himself the punishment for the sins of the world…
In a moment of unimaginable soulish agony, Jesus experienced utter separation from God the Father
a rending of an eternal relationship
death of His body with no hope of eternity.
taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve for our sins
Jesus, perfect and without sin
endured…for you, for me, for all of us.
“It is finished” He said…
and He died.
So we would never have to experience death without the hope of eternity with God.
So we will never experience the utter desolation of having The Father turn His face from us and be utterly separated from Him
So we might live with Him as brothers and sisters forever.
Amazing Love (listen and watch you tube video)
As you reflect on this sacred day, take some time to:
- Read the different accounts in the gospels:
Matthew 26 & 27, Mark 14 & 15; Luke 22 & 23; John 18
What stands out to you in each telling? what moves you, touches you, haunts you..
- Listen to the following songs that try to express the inexpressible.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Isaiah 52:13-53; Psalm 31:2, 6,12-13, 15-17, 25; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 45: Revelation 8-16