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Blog 28: The EASTER Series (Part 2) You'd be alive if you Stayed in the Galilee?

Remember . . .

ANZAC Day (April 1915), Black Friday (February 1939), Cyclone Tracy December 1974, Ash Wednesday (February 1983), Black Saturday (February 2009).

Australia remembers the catastrophes that etched their history and memories into our National psyche. There are other days the the world remembers: Remembrance day (11 November), D-Day (6 June 1944), V-E Day (May 1945), V-J Day, (September 1945) too.

Followers of Jesus have special commemorations, Holy Days, too; Christmas Day, Easter Sunday … Good Friday.

Arguably the most significant and holy day in the Christian Calendar is Good Friday. It’s the day that Jesus willingly submitted himself to crucifixion. An excruciating and lingering way to die. And He did it for you and me.

Jesus became a scapegoat (Leviticus 16) and paid a price we could never afford, to reconcile you and me to God.

Public humiliation

As I write today I imagine myself among the crowd of onlookers. There would have been hundreds. A public execution provides a macabre yet fascinating experience for onlookers.

This was no Midnight electrocution or lethal injection. This was no firing squad, hidden from sight in a courtyard, away from public gaze or a hanging behind closed doors.

This was no short walk, long drop and quick finish.

This was prolonged, torture, Jesus flayed alive, then hung up and nailed to a cross for every one passing to see. A couple of feet above the ground—naked, bloody and humiliated.

What's so Good about This Friday? PHOTOGRAPH: Gerd AltmannPixabay

moreWhy am I here?

I close my eyes and hide amongst the crowd. This is no place for moral and laws abiding people. So what am I doing here?

I have no answer, I just got swept up in the moment, there was no conscious decision on my part.

The sounds, the sights, the smells.

The screams of the condemned and profanities of soldiers going about their work.

They'd much rather be back in the barracks than stuck out on this godforsaken hill. Golgotha they called it—The place of the skull. It was well named. How cryptic—a place of execution.

The politicians can hide behind their fine clothes and piety, but we know better. They're no better than the rest of us. Bastards!

Then there's the condemned, three in all. Two had it coming to them, but even I wouldn't wish this kind of death on them. The third one is an enigma. He doesn't fit the type.

He wasn't a murderer or a thief.

Why is he here?

'It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.' (John 11:49—51)That's what Caiaphas said, and he should know he was the high priest.

I shouldn’t be here, yet I can't turn away.

I feel myself being sucked into the madness and drama of the day. I feel no compassion. The crowd howl, their blood-lust up.

Last Sunday they wanted to make this man their king, now they're baying for his blood

They want him to suffer … But why? All he had ever done was help people, to made a difference, and now it was all over.

A week is a long time in politics.

Tweet this—"It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.'—Caiaphas"

Father forgive them!

The sky blackens, sound diminishes and the crowd has gone.

Where hundreds of onlookers and soldiers stood seconds before, the field is empty, the road empty. Am I am the only one left?

Where have the other two crosses gone?

All I can see is the central one. Everything else has lost focus.

I cannot help myself, I am drawn toward that pitiful, naked and raw apology of a man.

Horror overwhelms me. Look away! I want to … but can't.

I'm drawn inexorably to those broken, swollen, blackened lips. They move, haltingly; “Father … forgive … them”.

Them? … There's only me.

“Father … forgive … them!”

I'm now feet away… from the flies, the gore, the excrement … the stink of death. I gaze into the eyes of that one lonely, bloody, wreck of a man.

Why didn't You stay in Galilee

‘Why? You could have walked away’, runs through my mind as I look into that unrecognisable face.

Why did they fear You? They must have hated you?

Why did you come to Jerusalem? It was almost as if you were asking for it.

You could have stayed in the Galilee and lived … but no!

You chose to make a grand entrance and they hated you for it.

It was as if you deliberately forced their hand.

You could have backed off, but you didn’t … Why?

A blackened-eye blinked. His head moved, ever so slightly, in my direction.

I sensed rather than heard, 'I could have shied away, I could have refused this death, but this was the only way. There could be no ultimate forgiveness for sin without the spilling of blood … my blood. It had to be this way. I did this for you.' (Hebrews 9)

Ever so slightly, he raised his struggling to look skyward.

“It is finished!”

If he wasn't dead already, the Roman legionnaire's, 2 metre long spear, thrust into his side certainly finished him.

The world would change for ever

The funeral was a rushed job. He died around 3pm and his body had to be buried no later than sundown. (John 19:31)

Fortunately there was a grave nearby, owned by Joseph. He arranged to take Jesus' body down from the cross, transfer it to his family burial site and entomb it there.

A quick wash down, the body wrapped in a linen shroud. and laid in the burial chamber. A large stone was rolled across the entrance to the tomb. (Matthew 27:57—60)

Some of the women folk talked about coming back early Sunday morning to finish the job fittingly and properly. (Mark 16:1—2)

How they planned to roll back the stone was anyones guess. It probably weighted more than two tonnes.

With minutes to spare the tomb was closed and the burial group trudged back to Jerusalem. All hope dead as the corpse in the grave!

What did this remind you of?

  • Did you let your imagination loose?

  • Did you smell, hear and see the creator of the Universe, flayed alive, humiliated and crucified for you and me.

  • It was Him or me!

Take a moment to reflect on the cost Jesus paid for our reconciliation to God.

  • Make this Good Friday an exceptional. Accept Jesus' gift of reconciliation and forgiveness today.

  • Acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour—Then begin a new life of hope and purpose right now!'

. . . To be continued . . .

Over to You

I welcome any comments you may wish to share below.

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