Except for the few who were aware of what was going on, it began as a
day like most others. Yet, behind the scenes, something that would change history was taking place.
During the night, Jesus had been betrayed by one of His apostles. Making things even worse, Judas
had shown the soldiers who Jesus was by greeting Him with a kiss. Talk about stabbing someone
in the back!!!
Have you ever known the heartache of betrayal? Jesus understands.
Throughout the remainder of the night, Jesus was ridiculed and beaten and spit on. Yet He had
done nothing to deserve such treatment.
Have you ever been unjustly treated? Jesus understands.
As the sun rose that morning, Jesus, having no sleep, being beaten and humiliated, hungry,
and totally aware of where it was all headed, was shuffled back and forth between the religious
leaders, Pilate, and Herod. Pilate found no fault in Him. Herod wanted a show but didn’t receive
one. The religious leaders just wanted Him dead. A dead man wouldn’t be a threat to their power;
at least that’s what they thought. So Pilate, having the final say, announced he would scourge Him
and release Him. But no, that wasn’t enough for the blood-hungry religious leaders. It had to be
death. And they were willing to claim the blood on their and their children’s heads. Now, that is
hatred in its foulest form. Fear can cause us to hate.
Have you ever been hated by someone? Jesus understands.
So, a murderer and rabble-rouser was released and Jesus was sentenced to death. I’m sure Barabbas
was unaware what it meant that Jesus was dying in his place. Roman’s used crucifixion for death sentences.
It was the most horrible way someone could be executed. The person on the cross would literally die
from asphyxiation. Many didn’t make it through the scourging, as it in itself was beyond what my words
could try to describe. Everything to do with crucifixion was horrible!
Yet that is what happened to Jesus. All He’d ever done was teach the Word, heal the sick, cast out demons,
raise the dead, and love on everybody. The problem was He had too many followers and He taught the Word
differently than the religious leaders. Jesus actually taught that being a follower of God meant you changed
on the inside, not just the outside.
As Jesus hung on the cross that day, He continued to receive abuse from the soldiers, the crowd that had
gathered, those passing by (it wasn’t on a hill far away, but at a busy intersection) and even the two thieves
hanging beside him. Most crucifixion victims cursed and screamed, but Jesus said only a few words. Even in
His pain and humiliation, He was still putting others first. He asked the Father to forgive those who were
responsible for His crucifixion (which by the way includes you and me!), He made arrangements for His
mother, Mary, to be taken care of, and He welcomed the one thief into the Kingdom. That thief had watched
Jesus and his eyes were opened, so he had what we’d call a “death-bed conversion.”
In addition to death, the Father laid on Jesus the sins of every single person who has ever been or ever will be
born. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us so we might receive His righteousness. Suddenly, He knew
the sin of hatred, the sin of domestic violence, the sin of back-stabbing, the sin of murder, the sin of rape, the
sin of lying, the sin of sexual immorality, the sin of drunkenness, the sin of coveting, the sin of stealing, the sin of
unforgiveness, the sin of disobeying our parents, the sin of pornography, the sin of idolatry, the sin of strife, the
sin of anger, the sin of jealousy, and all the other sins we are each guilty of committing. And because God is
Holy and can’t look on sin, He had to turn away from His Son. This had to have been the worst part of it all for
Jesus. Never, in all eternity, had He and the Father been separated.
Has someone ever turned their back on you? Jesus understands.
I could go on and on about that day. It was a day like no other. The thing I really want you to understand is
that Jesus CHOSE to die that awful death and to have our sins laid on Him.
The nails didn’t hold Him to that cross. HIS LOVE DID!
This wasn’t some Plan B or some out-of-control death plot. This was God’s plan. A plan determined
before the foundation of the earth. No, I don’t really understand all that, but that’s the truth.
Do you know how much God loves you? He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die in
your place. He is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Have you repented of
your sins and asked Him to be the Lord of your life? If not, what are you waiting for? Are you afraid
your sins are too horrible for Jesus to forgive or that He won’t understand? They aren’t and He will.
There is no greater gift than to lay down your life for another and that is what Jesus did for each of us.
Accept His gift of life while there is still time. Oh, how He loves you and wants you to be a part of His
Lots of love, Sharon