Thursday, April 14, 2022

The end or not the end


The end of the road. To the human eye, confusion and disaster appear to take over. Judas decides to betray his teacher. The high court of the Jews has condemned Jesus to death for claiming to be the Son of God.

As the next day dawned, they bound Jesus and presented Him to the Roman governor. Pilate soon worked out that He was innocent, yet handed Him over to the soldiers to be crucified (execution on a cross).  After flogging Him, the soldiers decide to make fun of His claim to be the King of the Jews. They dress Him in a purple robe and place a crown of thorns on His head, then mock Him 'Hail King of the Jews'.

On the road to Golgotha, Jesus was too weak to carry the cross, so Simon of Cyrene carried it. Then at the place outside the gate of Jerusalem , they nail Jesus to the cross along with two criminals, Jesus in the middle. From midday to midafternoon a strange darkness covered the land. Before sunset, Jesus  was dead. Strangely, a rich man took the body of Jesus and put it into a new burial tomb which was nearby.  The Jewish leaders insisted that the tomb be sealed and a guard be set to prevent foul play. They thought it was the end!

But through discerning eyes the record is not confusion. Jesus has deliberately come to Jerusalem. He arrived as their King on the donkey. He had called on the leadership to acknowledge Him as God's Son. Then on that difficult night He had warned the disciples that this situation was permitted by the Lord God for a purpose.

In the courtroom trials, the Lord Jesus refused to respond to accusations of what He had done, but responded directly to questions of His identity – before the Sanhedrin "Son of God", and before Pilate "King of the Jews". In all the torture, one witness said "When He was reviled, He did not revile, when He suffered, He did not threaten".

When Jesus was about to be nailed to the stake, he refused the wine mixed with myrrh. Rather He chose to feel every pain, and understand the horrible shame of insults hurled at Him by all around.

But what about the unusual darkness at a most crucial time?   And then Jesus took control of the moment and yielded up His Spirit to God whom He called 'Father'!  The centurion soldier in charge began to understand  who he had executed:  he  said "Truly this man is the Son of God"  (Mark 15:39)

Jesus was dead, but God was still in control. His body would not be treated as other criminals. Rather, as prophecy had said,' he would be buried in a rich man's tomb'(Isaiah 53) – and so He was.  Witnesses watched all that had happened and most thought this was the end of the road.

But the is another day. Read on into Mark 16

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