Walk Towards Easter . 30 .
‘ Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth, and taking Jesus’ body down from the cross, he wrapped it in the cloth and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance.’
Q. How would Joseph have felt?
Loosing someone that we love is one of the most painful experiences in life . We all have to face it at some point and grieving can often be a long and difficult process, but it is an inevitable process in this condition….humanity.
As Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body , broken and lifeless , I can only imagine the enormity of his grief. He was yet to have a full understanding of the salvation that Jesus had purchased for him in giving up His life. The bewilderment of the situation as he carried Jesus’ body away to be buried in a borrowed tomb, must have been consuming . He thought that Jesus was going to set up His Kingdom and reign as King, there in His lifetime, but now He was dead. Was all that he thought to be true……not ? Was Jesus really the Messiah ? All these conflicting thoughts married with an overwhelming grief. Things had not turned out as he thought they would !
Situations arrive in life where we are certain that we have it all worked out, we think we know the outcome, our desired result, and then the unthinkable occurs. Our reality is rocked as our certainty turns to confusion . It is not how we thought and planned it to be.
It is in these times when we are swamped in confusion that we need to hold fast, and lean into faith.
‘ All of us have strayed away like sheep, we have left God’s paths to follow our own. ‘ Isaiah 53:6
‘ The Lord your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says : I am The Lord your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow.’ Isaiah 48:17
Don’t give up because circumstances are not all that you desire, at the dawn of a new day , clarity , direction and understanding will come. He is faithful to His promise .
Walk Towards Easter . 29.
‘ And the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he died, he exclaimed, ” Truly, this was the Son of God!” Mark 15:338-39
Q. What was the significance of the tearing of the curtain? What do learn about Jesus death from the Roman Officer ?
‘ It is finished ‘…….What was it that so moved the Roman Soldier ,as Jesus took His last breath, to exclaim , ” Truly He was the Son of God!” I’m sure this soldier must have officiated at many crucifixions and witnessed many deaths on the cross, but this one was different. Maybe he saw the enormous load , the burden that Jesus bore, the pain He suffered and the darkness that overshadowed Him. Maybe it was the compassion and forgiveness he showed , regardless of His own suffering , to the criminal placed next to Him. Or did he sense a supernatural peace as Jesus commended His Spirit to His Father. It was the incredible changing power of Grace! , the Roman Soldier praised God !
When the curtain was torn in two, Jesus sacrifice ushered in The New Covenant. No longer was there a separation of the Holy and Most Holy Place in The Temple, no longer do we need the earthly priest to intercede on our behalf. Now we can boldly enter into The Throne Room of Grace
‘ So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it ‘ Ephesians 4:16
Walk Towards Easter. 28.
‘ And at 3 in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ” Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthan?” Which means, ” My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”
Q. How do you feel about the Passion of the Christ? What do you think is happening in this moment?
‘ My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help?’ Psalm 22:1
This is heartbreaking, Jesus crying out to His Father, in His greatest hour of need, to be met with silence, an intense silence. For the first time in His earthly life He could not feel His Fathers presence. Surrounded by hostility and mockers, Jesus in His darkest moment was totally alone. After enduring horrific pain and humiliation Jesus had come to the end of himself. He was spent, the weight of the world’s sin resting upon His shoulders, the darkness closing in around Him. God allowed Him to feel the angst of our separation from God , to experience our human condition in its fullest. Jesus cried out as a man, desperate for help. This is why He knows our every sorrow, every burden, every shame. There is nothing in this life that we experience, no trauma or trial that He does not understand. He waded through death.
The foot of the cross is where I choose to lay my life. He gave His all for me .
Walk Towards Easter . 27.
‘ At noon darkness fell across the whole land until 3 o’clock .’ Mark 15:33
Q. What is the significance of the darkness?
Have you ever experienced a total eclipse of the sun ? That eerie darkness that gradually engulfs the heavens and just as gradually light re-emerges as the sun becomes visible again. It’s not a total darkness but more like the gentle hues of twilight as the sun is only completely obscured for a couple of minutes.
But in those few short minutes the source of our warmth, the light of our day is hidden from our sight as though we were veiled.
Jesus hung on the cross for three hours, three hours in a deep darkness. Three hours He endured a total separation from His Father, as God turned His face and withdrew His presence from His only Son as the weight of all sin rested upon Him. Jesus had walked and talked with His Father since He was a little boy. He was in total communion with God and now He was alone, cut off from heaven.
The anguish which must have enveloped Him is incomprehensible , something we can never understand. And He suffered this in order to release us from the chains that hold us in darkness, so that we might never have to encounter the torment of separation from God.
Grace immeasurable, Grace uncontainable , Grace undeserved , a love that knows no bounds and is available to all who would ask.
His love……is…….amazing .
Walk Towards Easter .26.
‘ The leading priests and teachers of the religious law also mocked Jesus. ” He saved others,” they scoffed, ” but he can’t save himself! Let this messiah, this King of Israel , come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the two criminals who were being crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
Q. What is ironic about the mocking cries of the crowd?
To be involved in behaviour such as mockery, is unbecoming of any religious leader. I wonder if the people shouting actually listened to what they were saying, ” You saved others!” Should that not have been enough for them to see that Jesus was special, innocent. They witnessed His miracles and yet they still wanted more , for Him to prove Himself again. The irony is, that is exactly what He was accomplishing.
‘ When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honours of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners…….” Isaiah 53:11-12
There will be times when you are the only one standing firm, holding fast to your principles, in the face of ridicule and torment and an overwhelming pressure to conform. Often our biggest critics will be those whom we thought were on the same page. Take heart, He knows the weight and He overcame it.