How can we even imagine what Jesus went through in these final hours. Pilate tried to set him free, but Jesus’ destiny had been set. You can read the whole chapter of Mark 15 for more of those details. It used to shock me how the people turned on Jesus. And while it is still shocking, I can see how God had to cloud their minds so that the cries of “crucify him” would be more than Pilate could bear. These outlandish charges would not warrant a death sentence.
But imagine how Jesus, that is God, felt hearing the angry cries, the chants calling for his death. Even though he expected to die, it had to be difficult to hear coming from the people who days before had been shouting, “Hosanna!” These were the very people he loved so much and would be giving his life for. The inner turmoil must have been agonizing. He couldn’t just blink his eyes and have it over with. He had to endure the cruelty of the cross for us.
How do we respond all these years later? After all, we, too, are the beneficiaries of what Jesus did that day on Golgotha’s hill. I close my eyes and try to imagine the scene. As Christ followers, we shouldn’t rush past this text. We know that Jesus had to die for our redemption to be complete. We have been given a glimpse into what sacrificial love is all about.
When you reflect today, recall Paul’s counsel in Philippians 5:2-8. It says: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Jesus knew it was just a matter of time before this moment was to come.
We can never forget what Jesus gave up to come and live as one of us. He experienced what we experience so he can know how it feels. He knows anger, sadness, hunger, thirst, joy, frustration, laughter, all of it. He humbled himself, he was obedient to God, and in this moment we see him hanging on the cross like a criminal. I am moved to tears that he would do that for me. He did that for you, too.
Take some extra time today to imagine you were there with those looking on. What are you feeling? Can you hear the hammer hitting the nails? Can you hear the bullying going on? Let the words of the Roman officer cut through any unbelief you may be feeling. “This man truly was the Son of God!” He was the first non-believer who came to recognize Jesus for who he really was.
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for humbling yourself, for obeying God’s plan, and for setting an example for me to follow. Help me to see with your eyes and love like you. May I be as brave as you were in facing my own destiny. Give me boldness to proclaim you even when that isn’t the popular thing. Prepare the way for my humble heart to follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.