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.
Walk Towards Easter .21.
‘ And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind:” Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and cried. Mark 14:72
Q. When have you failed Jesus, and how do you resonate with Peter?
There have been numerous times when I have walked away from an opportunity to share Jesus. How do I know this? That feeling in the pit of my stomach, the uneasiness that floods over me confirming what I already know……a chance missed.
Why have I failed in these opportunities ? Possibly because I am like Peter, embarrassed , fearful of what people may think, will they exclude me because of my belief, what if I were to be ridiculed, fearful of rejection!
And like Peter, my heart is heavy in the realisation of what I have done.
I’m sure we have all been in the situation where we have denied Jesus, not always intentionally, but subtly with our actions and reactions. Times where we have resisted and wilfully chosen to disregard the still small voice of The Holy Spirit.
The beauty of the Gospel, the incredible story of Salvation is that in our despair, carrying the shame of our rejection, and the feelings of unworthiness the enemy tries to cause us to come under, Jesus stands victorious. And we, just like Peter are forgiven.
” Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. What ever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and what ever you open on earth will be opened inHeaven.” Matthew 17:18-19
Let us not miss the opportunities that He brings our way, let us walk in His forgiveness and be a light shining that cannot be dimmed .
Walk Towards Easter . 20.
Then the high priest asked him, ” Are you the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God?” Jesus said, ” I am, and you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:61-62
Q. Who do you think Jesus was? How do you respond to Jesus’ extraordinary claims about Himself ?
Much debate has raged over the person of Jesus.
Some say He was a fraud,
Some say He never existed , that He is fiction, fairytale or legend,
Others say, ” Oh yes, he lived, he was real, but he was just a man!”
Some say He was mad, and still others that He was a charismatic leader and teacher of His time……but still , just a man!
Those of us who know Him, who walk with Him, talk with Him, and have an personal relationship with Him, whose lives He has changed and whose souls He has rescued, say ” Yes, He is the Son of Man!”
Life testimonies bear witness to His validity, miracles and wonders attest to His name, the redemptive power of His story, a life…His life that altered the course of history………….not just a man……….The Son of God………Jesus our Saviour.