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 .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.
Walk Towards Easter . 25.
‘ It was 9 o’clock in the morning when the crucifixion took place. A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read; ” The King of the Jews.” Two criminals were crucified with him, their crosses on either side of His. ‘ Mark 15:25-27
Q. How does Jesus compare to the other two men? What was the intent of the sign ?
Jesus was the Rose between two thorns. They placed His cross in the middle, on either side of Him a convicted, guilty criminal. Surrounded by sin, there He hung, perfect and innocent.
‘ All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet The Lord laid on him the guilt and sin of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realised that he was dying for their sins- that he was suffering their punishment.” Isaiah 53:6-8
The sign above His head intended as a mockery to His power as King an insult to both Him and the Jewish people. Little did they understand his title was much more than that. Unlike the two criminals who bore the punishment for their own wrongs, He carried the weight and consequence of all of sins for all of time. He uttered not a word in His defence, instead embracing His Father’s plan and choosing us. We who are guilty.
He is ” King of Kings”.
Walk Towards Easter . 24.
‘ They dressed him in a purple robe and made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on His head. Then they saluted, yelling, ” Hail! King of the Jews!” And they beat him on the head with a stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.’ Mark 15:16-19
Q. What motivates the mockers ? Are you ever tempted to mock Jesus ?
They dragged Jesus before a whole battalion of soldiers to mock and abuse him both verbally and physically . Why ? Why would anyone want to do this to another human being ? The mob , bully mentality continued onto the Roman authorities, spreading like a virus. One by one more people stepped in to join the brutalising of an innocent man, almost as if it were a sport. They mocked and humiliated Him until they were tired of their sick game.
I cannot fathom what their motivation must have been , it is foreign to me and my only conclusion is that the enemy of our souls was at the root of it all , spurring them along for his own evil purposes.
Isaiah foretold these events;
‘Who has believed our message? To whom will The Lord reveal His saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot , sprouting from a root in dry and arid sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected- a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! ‘ Isaiah 53:1-5
Jesus’ tormentors were blinded by unbelief, lost in their ignorance. Unable to see that the very man they persecuted was indeed their Saviour.
May our eyes be open that we do not mock Him in looking the other way as He passes by, but instead , we stand up and follow after Him.
Walk Towards Easter. 23.
‘ Pilate asked them, ” what should I do with this man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, ” Crucify him!” ” Why?” Pilate demanded. ” What crime has he committed?” But the crowd only roared the louder, ” Crucify him!”
Q. Why did the crowd respond to Jesus in this way ? How do you feel about this scene ?
But what has He done, how is it that a crowd that not so long ago welcomed Him into the city laying down their coats and palm branches would now be shouting demanding His death? This gentle man who spoke only of love, forgiveness and life, healing their sick and even raising the dead, had committed no crime was now being accused unjustly .
Fear and ignorance will drive people to actions of appalling nature. What we fail to understand or cannot explain we often persecute, ridicule or drive from our presence. Every angry, mobbing crowd has leaders, ones who encourage and fuel the frenzy. Their fear is rooted in envy and jealousy, a concern that their power will be usurped. They place their trust in their own wisdom and self importance. Their perceived power comes from a superiority complex, a false piety and illusion of humbleness.
When visualising this scene my heart is heavy and weighed down at the injustice , a feeling of despair and helplessness, I know , I would not be one of those screaming for His crucifixion. I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude, that He would bear this for me.