March 30, 2018
The sun is beginning to dawn at my house. I’ve been trying to do other things this morning, but my mind keeps drifting back to a moment 2,000 years ago.
All night, last night (then), the Lord was agonizing in the Garden, then being betrayed, condemned, falsely accused.
About this time, as the dawn approached, a rooster crowed … and the proud, self-assured Peter, standing outside the High Priest’s house, realized he had done exactly as the Lord predicted; he had denied Christ.
He ran from the fire and went away to weep bitterly.
Inside the house, the priests will falsely accuse Him.
The will spit on Him,
and slap Him.
In a little while, (today, 2,000 years ago), they will drag Jesus away to Pilate, where a mockery of a trial will occur.
A condemned murderer will be offered by a pawn in the story—Pilate—but, the people (the very people whom Jesus loved enough to come to earth for, live for, and soon die for), will cry with murderous rage:
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him … His blood be on us and on our children.”
They will scream this over and over again, until Pilate becomes concerned.
Not knowing what to do, he will deliver Jesus up to the Roman guards to scourge him with the dreaded whips, laced with shards of broken rock, tipped with metal and a hook designed to wrap around the body and tear the flesh from the body.
His body, just as Isaiah prophesied, will quickly become unrecognizable.
People who see Him now will turn their face away from Him.
The Roman guards will place a purple robe on His raw flesh, put a reed in His hand, and mock him as the “King of the Jews” (whom they despised).
They will spit on Him.
And beat Him.
Mid-morning, they will place the cross on his shoulders and lead him to the place of public execution: a skull shaped hill called Golgotha.
Below the hill is the public trash dump, where evil-smelling smoke burns endlessly, curling up to the place of the most murderous, glorious death in human history.
The soldiers, who have the most loathsome task, will nail Him to a cross.
He will be mocked and jeered by the crowd … but the worst was yet to come today:
The sin of every man and woman, boy and girl—your sin and mine—will be laid upon Him.
At noon today (2,000 years ago), the sky will be strangely darkened for the next three hours.
The pure, holy Son of God will become sin for us and take the full punishment of the wrath of God for our foul rebellion against our Creator.
God will separate Himself from His (now, sin-consumed) Son.
“My God, my God. Why have You forsaken me?” the Son of God will cry.
The hours will tick by today, with the full, relentless sin and suffering of the whole world upon Christ’s shoulders.
And then, at 3 PM today …
Finally, gratefully, Jesus will heave one last breath and cry out
“It is finished, it is paid in full.”
And He will die.
But as He dies, the priests who are in the temple nearby will quake at a frightening, glorious event:
the massive veil—6 inches thick—that separates the Holy place
(where the priests minister on behalf of the people)
from the Holy of Holies
(where only one high priest can enter once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people)
is thunderously rent in two from top to bottom!
The sin-riddled, sin-punished, life of Christ has fully paid for our sins and now opened the way into the presence of the Father for all who will believe!
We can now stand, with peace facing God because of this introduction through Christ by grace …
Each believer now stands uncondemned, sinless before the Throne of God!
Everything has changed today, for all of eternity.
So today, throughout the day, I will remember, in humility and repentance, and give thanks for the matchless cross of Christ!
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