From the very beginning of time, spanning onwards to time beyond our comprehension; this was the day in which everything is centred. Everything before led up to, and everything afterwards looks back on; the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This week we have been looking at the final days of Jesus’ time on Earth before his death and resurrection, and something that has been occurring is Jesus’ willingness to walk straight into the hands of the enemy and suffer and die. He told his disciples he would do so, repeatedly, and made no effort to escape Jerusalem, fight or thwart the plans of his enemies to betray and arrest him, put him on false trials which claimed he was blaspheming, where they beat him and scourged him.
Jesus was spat on, mocked, struck in the head with a staff and a prickly crown of long, sharp thorns was put on his head, where they saluted him, and pretended to worship him. He was led away to be crucified, where Roman nails were pierced through his hands and feet to a large wooden cross which was raised that left him to hang in agonising pain. Two criminals were executed with him; one on either side. A signboard was nailed above him saying “This is the King of the Jews”. Soldiers gambled for his clothes and some onlookers shouted insults:
“Let him save himself if he is really God’s chosen one.”
“He saved others, but he can’t save himself”
It is unbelievable that while going through this horrible pain Jesus would say “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”
As horrible and as devastating as everything he subjected himself to at the hands of the men he created, he suffered something incomprehensively horrifying and punishing at the hands of God. From 12 noon – 3pm there was complete darkness as God poured out his wrath on his own Son for your sins and mine, so that we don’t have to be punished for our wrongs and are free to approach God. Jesus was not a weak man or caught out by his enemies. He was completely in control of the circumstances, and went through this punishment willingly to ensure God’s will was done: to set us free from our sins.
“Even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom to many” Mark10 v 45
As sinners we have all fallen short of God’s glory and deserve eternal punishment. However God has made provision for us in giving up what meant most to Him
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” John3 v 16
After this Jesus was thirsty, so they soaked a sponge in a jar of sour wine and held it up to his lips. When he tasted it, he said “It is finished!” At this moment the Lord’s work was accomplished and all our sins were taken away. All our guilt and shame that should have been imputed on us, was put on him, and Jesus proclaimed in victory that our salvation is won! Our sins are forgiven! He then gives up his life and commends His spirit to God.
If you read the accounts of the death of Jesus you may think it strange that it is something celebrated and joyfully sung about, when it was a time of suffering for Jesus and a horrific scene displaying the brutality of man. However this day was when the only One Who was perfect, and the only One who could provide the way for us to be forgiven, demonstrated His love for us by becoming an amazing sacrifice; the gift of God!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8