Reflections on the scenes leading to the Cross. (pt. 1)

There are so many focal points associated with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It all started with a celebration as Jesus entered Jerusalem and, the disciples amongst the crowds cheered and lay cloaks and palm branches down in a makeshift parade of a mistaken earthly royal processional. How the tone of the city abruptly changed in only a matter of days.

Then there is the scene of the last supper as the disciples gathered around a borrowed table in an upper room to celebrate their last Passover with their Rabbi. The furtive glances from the other disciples as Peter adamantly challenged Jesus and even attempted to admonish Him. The startling news that someone in the room would betray Him and then the abrupt exit of Judas…

Then there was the prayer garden scene in Gethsemane where Jesus passionately prays for the cup of suffering to be taken from him, and almost as a foreshadowing of what was to come, his disciples abandon him to their exhausted revery and slumber. Then Jesus is arrested in that same garden and kissed on the cheek by Judas which seals the deal of betrayal for thirty pieces of silver. How interesting that we consider it to be the sealing of Jesus’ fate and yet sadly, Judas ends his own life when confronted with the consequences of his misplaced ambitions. Thus, perhaps it was sadly Judas’ life that was fatedly sealed with that peck on the cheek.

Another focal point is the illegal court appearance of Jesus in the middle of the night so as to not ignite a riot in the streets. Jesus is found guilty for crimes he never committed and the leaders knew it and even washed their hands of it all… later, the large crowds gathered, shouting Barabbas as the city officials struggled to maintain order, and Jesus was first led to be whipped then paraded through the streets in a humiliating display of cruelty. How distant that triumphant entrance into Jerusalem seemed on that dark “Good Friday” as an innocent Author of the Universe, now in human form, was led to His slaughter. The ultimate sacrificial lamb and atonement for the sins of every human being on the planet.

And yet how frightened Simon Peter was as he gathered around the fires that night completely shell shocked at the atrocity of the horrific crucifixion scene. He was confronted with his allegiance to Messiah, and instead of his typical bravado, he was reduced to denying his discipleship to Jesus. How dark it all must have seemed as the glowing embers of the fire danced and flickered on the faces of everyone gathered there. The Light of the World seemingly extinguished at the hands of those He came to save, and with the crowing of the rooster that early morning, Peter knew he had betrayed Jesus. How the guilt must have flooded in and washed away the remaining fortitude of ‘the rock’…

If the story had only ended here, it would have been the saddest tragedy to ever have befallen humankind. God was truly dead and, we had killed Him. Yet, the divine plan, foretold nearly a thousand years before Jesus arrived was unfolding and coming to fruition. How the Angels in heaven must have held their collective breaths as those devoted to Him mourned and hid themselves away.

There is an anticipation of what is to come, and yet we should linger here for just a little while longer. When we confront this darkness head-on we must begin to acknowledge the darkness still living within us. We try to deny that it is there and yet we, like Peter betray Him over and over again. Perhaps if we were to linger here we would hear our own rooster crowing…

Perhaps if we lingered here we would understand that we could never be Messiah in our own life. We might begin to realize that our strength has never, ever been enough. Sin still sits cold and heavy upon our souls. We cannot remove it by doing more good deeds or praying harder or reading another self-help book. If we linger here for just a little while longer we would begin to see how majestic and victorious that empty tomb really is for our salvation and for the salvation of all living beings on this planet.

Jesus resurrected hope on empty tomb day.
Jesus resurrected life for more than just himself.
Jesus reconnected what had been broken since the fall of Adam and Eve in that garden so long ago.
Jesus removed the barrier of sin between our mortal souls and the Creator of ALL.

But we should linger here for just a little while longer…
Let it all soak in.
Let the power of the cross and of the death of Messiah sink in…
really go deep within this chapter of our salvation story.

Let’s ponder this for a few days.
But Sunday is coming…

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