I have read the story of Jesus dying on the cross many times. Yesterday, Good Friday, I read Matthew 27:15-66 with the boys before we went to the ‘Good Friday Happening’, which was Messy Church at St Phillip’s Church. We read from where Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified, releasing a notorious criminal and making a show of washing his hands in front of the crowd to make out he was not responsible. Then we read about the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus, Jesus being led to be crucified and Jesus being placed on the cross. And in the final verses we read of Jesus dying on the cross, his body being laid in a tomb and then guards being posted at the tomb.
This Easter, two things struck me, the fact that the whole earth went dark for three hours in the middle of the day and how the chief priests and Pharisees arranged for the tomb to be sealed and guarded to prevent the disciples stealing the body.
‘That afternoon, the whole earth was covered with darkness for three hours, from noon until three o’clock’ (Matthew27:45)
The Roman soldiers mocked Jesus, forcing him to wear a crown of thorns, a scarlet robe and to carry a stick to make him look like a King and they knelt before him in mockery and yelled at him,” Hail, King of the Jews”. People passing by as Jesus hung on the cross hurled abuse at him and the chief priests and Pharisees also mocked him,
‘”He saved others”, they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So you are the King of Israel, are you? Come down from the cross and we’ll believe you! He trusted God – let God show his approval by delivering him! Didn’t he say, ‘I am God’s son’?”
The reality is that Jesus was and is the son of God and could easily have saved himself at any point. He could have called on his Father and angels could have ministered to Him. Jesus chose to die on the cross for us. The song, ‘Lost in wonder (you chose the cross) sums this up beautifully:
The darkness over the whole earth, the earthquakes, rocks falling, all shows the awesome power and authority of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. At three o’clock, after Jesus says those chilling and immortal words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” the curtain in the temple, separating the main temple from the Holiest place is miraculously split open from top to bottom. I have studied recently the building of the Ark and my boys and I built a replica temple and so it helps knowing the importance and significance of the Ark and the Holy of Holies. I love the song, ‘Take me in’, which is about getting close to God. Thanks to what Jesus has done on the cross for us all, we can be his friend, if we will only say we are truly sorry for things we’ve done wrong and believe in Him.
"Take Me In"
Take me past the outer courts
Into the Holy Place
Past the brazen altar
Lord I want to see your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
And the Priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness
But it’s only found in one place
Take me into the holy of holies
Take me in by the blood of the lamb
Take me into the holy of holies
Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am
This song is performed by Scandinavian Metal Praise:
It was the day after Jesus died, after his body had been laid in a tomb by a rich follower, that the church leaders of the time requested the tomb be sealed and guarded. They were worried that the disciples would steal the body and tell everyone that Jesus had come back to life. Little did the chief priests and Pharisees know that what they did was help to prove the reality and truth of Jesus’ resurrection! The religious leaders went to such lengths to seal off the tomb; the tomb was set in the rock in the side of the hill, so there was only one entrance anyway through the heavy stone that was rolled across the entrance. The leaders took the further precaution of having the tomb guarded, so the only way the tomb could be empty would be for Jesus to rise from the dead! The Pharisees failed to understand that no rock, seal, guard or army could prevent the son of God from rising again!
Written by Jo Jo