I woke up this morning, and it began immediately. Anxiety, dread, depression, and overwhelming sorrow. Today would not be a good day. I looked at the clock and realized that the torture had already begun some 2000+ years ago. Your trial was likely starting. Things went downhill from there.
I got ready for work, and wondered if the beatings had begun yet. How long did your mock trial last? Minutes? An hour? I imagine not much longer. Then you were led away and into the hands of the waiting soldiers. They stripped you. Mocked you. Beat and flogged you, all the while making fun of your pain. But you remained silent. You endured this undeserved torture so that we could all live free. You endured it with the silence and dignity that only a true King could. You never complained or cried out.The flogging ripped the skin and muscle from your back down to the bone. They gave you a fake robe and a crown of thorns, and for no good reason. You had done nothing wrong. Nothing.
At lunchtime I was sure you had already made the painstaking trip to Golgotha--the place of the Skull--the hill on which you would die. You had already been nailed to the cross, and raised to hang until your death. Still they mocked you, daring you to come down and save yourself. If you are a king, where are your followers? They even cast lots for your clothing, to take after you were dead. They had no idea they were fulfilling a prophecy from hundreds of years earlier
And now I look at the clock, 2:51. It is almost time for you to die. I do not know when you granted grace to the thief next to you, bit I imagine that it was close to the end. He was likely ready to give up, having born more pain than a person ever should. But even though he deserved his punishment, you gave him peace. You did for him what no other person could. Because you were--and still are-- more than a person. You are God.
In the third hour, You will bow your head and give up your spirit. The skies will go dark, and thunder will tear across the skies. I have always felt this was God, our father screaming at His loss as well as ours. But You chose this. I can never comprehend this. The loss was so great. The curtain in the temple would rip in half. But this was no ordinary curtain. It was several inches thick and woven from horse hair. No human could have torn it. This was also our Father's anger and torment at watching his only Son die -- for nothing.
Then you descended into Hell. We can't possibly know what this was like. I had always imagined you entering the gates of Hell as a conquering hero, but another viewpoint was presented by my pastor recently. We can live because you took our punishment for us. We know God's wrath will be poured out on those who have rejected Him. Did you have God's wrath poured out on you while there? Is that why you sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane? It wasn't the physical pain and torture that you feared, or even death, but being cast out of Heaven and separated from God our Father? You suffered the separation from God that I fear, so that I would not have to.
But then you rose. You survived. This is the one thing that we can never do on our own. You defeated death and Hell, by going there, suffering what we should have, and overcoming it.
You have granted us your grace, just like the thief on the cross. We don't deserve it either. "This day, you will be with me in Paradise," you said to the thief--and you say it to me as well. For You are My God, and I am Your child. Nothing can hurt me, including death.
It truly is a very Good Friday.
Until next time:
Peace to you and yours,
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Re-Inventing the Impossible
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