Spring is almost here and the Easter season is upon us. Many practice their faith by attending weekly services that remind us of Christ suffering, death and resurrection.
I grew up in a Christian home and since a child have heard the Easter story. One would certainly think I had considered every angle of this story and know every reason and thought behind the horrible death Christ suffered. Yet each year as the Lenten season arrives I find myself reviewing the contrived, unscrupulous trial of Christ.
I keep hoping this is the year Pilot will finally get it right. Surely this time he will do as he should have done so long ago and find Christ without fault and set him free.
Maybe this time the crowd would remember that only a week ago they had been shouting praise and adoration for Jesus. They would recall waving palm branches on the streets of Jerusalem and declaring him “King of Israel”.
Maybe this time they would declare the release of this innocent man instead of Barabbas. Surely this time the crowd could see the Chief Priest were provoked not by Jesus guilt but His goodness.
Surely this time Christ would not have to endure the flogging with the glass and bone imbedded whip slicing through his flesh, severing vessels and nerves.
Please don’t let Him have to go through this! HE’S INNOCENT, I cry silently in my thoughts. Maybe this time he wouldn’t have to suffer being mocked by the soldiers who placed a crown of thorns on his head and a purple robe on His back. I didn’t want him to have to endure being spit on and repeatedly and sadistically beaten with the staff he had been given as a form of scepter.
Wouldn’t it be possible this time to escape the horrible death of crucifixion? The spikes that pierced his hands and feet. The jolting that sent shock waves of searing pain as the cross was dropped into the ground. The unbearable pain in his hands as they supported his weight while tearing his flesh.
Scripture reminds us he was fully God and fully Man therefore feeling every pain that any human would feel in his situation. In the garden of Gethsemane he prayed that this cup would pass from him but submitted himself to his father’s will. Christ agonized over having to endure this awful death, sweating as it were great drops of blood. But just maybe the story would end differently this time. It is all too horrible and unfair!
I pause and let the whirling thoughts in my head settle like dust to the ground. Quietly, gently the spirit of God speaks to me and touches my spirit. “My precious child, I created you. I love you beyond anything you can imagine. Your sin was so great that it separated you from me. A sacrifice was needed to pay the penalty and span the gap between us. I saw down thru the annals of time. I saw you would need forgiveness. I saw the night when sleep could not be found as you pondered the horrible nature of your sin. I knew you would cry out because of the hopelessness of your condition. There was no other way to help you dear child.
The only way to help you and the rest of the world was for my perfect sinless Son to become the sacrifice for your sin. Those who tormented and mistreated him thought they were taking his life from him but he freely gave it for you. It never was really about the choices they made anyway. I could have sent legions of angels to set him free.
From the garden of Gethsemane it was only 10 min to the wilderness of Judea. If it had had been my plan, he could have escaped into that wilderness never to be discovered by the soldiers. If I wanted it to end differently, I could have made that choice but where would mankind be today? Lost and without hope of being saved. No hope. Who can live without hope? And the only true hope is found in my son and his death and resurrection.
Each accusation, the beatings he suffered, the strips on his back were for you. For your forgiveness, your healing, your eternal life. You cannot dwell on the past and what others should have done. You must dwell on what I did for you. Receive it and believe it and allow it to change your life.”