Read Mark 15:16-39
Jesus’ journey to the cross ends today as he is raised up on the tree for all to see. As Christians, this is an essential event in our faith story. Knowing that, however, doesn’t make it any less excruciating for us to imagine. I can almost feel each blow and hear each taunt jeered at Jesus. I have to shut out the noise of the world to do so, but that’s how I want to spend my quiet time today. I want to feel closer to Jesus.
I can’t help but think about what Jesus was feeling besides the agony. Was he picturing all of our faces as he endured his torture? And what about Jesus’ abusers? Imagine what evil must be burning inside for them to commit such a deed on another human. What kind of mindset must they have had to reconcile their actions?
Continue reading “Mark 15:16-39 – Final Hours”
Read Mark 15:21-47
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.
Continue reading “Mark 15:21-47 – The Death of Jesus”
Read Mark 15:16-39 and Luke 23:32-49
They call this Good Friday. What Jesus did for us is definitely good, but what the people did to Jesus is horrendous and mortifying. Doesn’t that contrast make it all the more powerful? The emotions that are swirling around as we read these texts can take our breath away. When it’s a familiar story like this, it can be even harder to really put yourself back in the moment. Close your eyes and picture the scene. Can you just about hear the mocking in the soldier’s voices? They were truly possessed by the evil one and totally blinded to the Son of God standing before them.
Even on our most difficult day, we have not endured such brutality. We cannot begin to imagine what it felt like to be beaten, spit on, jeered at, and then forced to carry a heavy cross to Calvary’s hill. I remember testing for black belt and feeling totally drained and beaten up after that. I wasn’t sure I could walk to the car to drive home. It was the most brutal thing I have ever done. In the midst of that test, I questioned everything I had ever known, been taught, and practiced. I had to be on alert even though my dripping sweat was burning my eyes. My spirit fought through every test. I remember calling on God many times to give me just what I needed for the next trial. I didn’t die. I was not even close to dying. When I think of Jesus’ torture I can only weep. His purpose for going through all that was for me. Because he loved me.
Continue reading “Holy Week 2020 – Friday”