It’s very gray this morning… and windy and cool. It should be gray on Good Friday.
All creatures should walk solemnly today as we contemplate the Savior of the world.
This Jesus, whose sinless life fulfilled all the righteous demands of the law which we were helpless to do.
This Jesus, who on this day of all dreadful days cannot restrain his love. He gives a Gentile governor numerous opportunities to follow conscience and to know the Truth which sets men free (John 18-19). He warns the mourners who follow him on his road to the cross – “Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:27-31). He prays from the cross for his accusers – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He bestows forgiveness and gives eternal hope to the believing criminal crucified next to him (Luke 23:39-43) and He cares for his mother (John 19:26-27).
This Jesus, will willingly suffer torture and humiliation on this day at the hands of his creatures. He asked, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Yet, He submitted to the will of the Father to proceed with their plan crafted before the foundations of the world were laid (Luke 22:42).
Pilate’s weakness will not only lead to Jesus’ crucifixion, but add to his sufferings as he tries to appease the blood-thirsty crowd by having Jesus tortured. He orders Jesus flogged, whipped with leather straps studded with bits of lead and pieces of bone. Jesus is then led back before the angry crowd in this bloodied state clothed in a purple robe and crowned with thorns, the result of cruel bullying by Pilate’s soldiers. He is cast out of the Jews’ beloved Jerusalem, bearing the disgrace of an execution “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). At the cross, He is stripped down his chiton, the garment worn next to his skin. The attending soldiers throw lots for his clothes, judging the clothing to be of more value than its owner, the God-man who hangs nearly naked before them.
Then, of course, there comes the greatest transaction in the history of the world. By the end of this day, all of Christ’s righteousness will appear as available credit in the accounts of sinful men. Before this though, Jesus will become sin – my sin, your sin, the sin of all mankind. He will absorb all the punishment for it in wave after wave as He hangs on the tree and turns away God’s wrath from rebellious mankind to himself. There remains for God’s people not a single drop of wrath left toward us, all was spent on his Son. There is only goodness and love left toward me, his child.
Oh! I see the sun has broken through!
It should be sunny on this day.
“And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I have is grace!”
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