Shouldn’t of had it in the first place…. interesting information.
The day was drawing to an end, and for Jesus, so was life. He hung from the cross barely recognizable as a man. One eye was swollen shut the other was caked in blood and sweat and sight was difficult. This was a pitiful looking man, who they claim had come to set the Jews free, now hanging like a slab of meat from a Roman Cross. Above his head was a sign, “King of the Jews,” a mockery of those who were uninformed, and had no faith in the truth, or simply did not want to know the truth. As the crowd continued to abuse the man with degrading and humiliating words of disrespect, His friends who had now scattered and observed from a distance, abandoning Him for their own safety, save His mother and the disciple who would later write “The disciple whom Jesus loved”, the one they called John.
It was here in this situation that Jesus revealed Christian character, before it was called Christian. I close my eyes to see with my mind’s eye, what is going on here at the cross. I look and see a man, who others have claimed to be the one to free the Jewish people from bondage. He did that, but not from the bondage of the Roman oppression, not from the burden of the law, but from the bondage of sin and the curse of the law, which is eternal death.
He struggled to speak, as he lifted his head towards the darkening sky, finding it hard to see from the partially opened eye, but as he peered into heaven, he hardly could form the words, but the volume enabled the world to hear, “ Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke. 23:34 NIV)
Forgiveness, is not only for those who had hammered the nails, we all hammered the nails, but for all who are standing there, mocking God the Son. They were just following the crowd, and that sounds like what many of us do; follow the crowd, unfortunately, we follow the crowd in their sin, and there are those in the crowd who will never have the spiritual ears to hear the gospel truth, and the wages of all sin is death. You see, like them, in their “madness”, we in our “madness”, follow after the lusts and appetites of world, we cannot discern without the renewing of our minds. And for this he is asking on our behalf, “Father forgive them …”
I notice two thieves who are being crucified with the one named Jesus; one is trash talking Him, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us.” Now the other rebuking him, said “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NIV.). The thief recognized Jesus as who He is, and in his heart, made a simple request, that he be with Jesus, Jesus gave him what he wanted, just as he was, the thief was still a thief, but a saved thief, a new man in Christ Jesus.
Watching Jesus I noticed Him strain through the pain to look at those who were at the foot of the cross, and looking into the teary eyes of His loving mother, His soft voice assured, “Dear woman here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26, 27 NIV.). Jesus left His mother in the care of John, and as I think of the spiritual truth of it, Jesus never leaves us alone, no matter how we act, we are His and he will never forsake us, it is the other way around when we are not up against the wall, we forsake Him.
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” Jesus’ voice is like thunder shaking the ground, meaning “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV.). The crowd grew silent under the dark ski, as in unbelief, this Jesus, who said He is the Son of God, now cries out in pain and rejection, asking God why He had forsaken Him, turned His back on him. Rejection hurts, when we realize we are alone. As my own eyes started to fall toward the ground, I noticed a dark figure moving about the crowd unnoticed, the face under the hood of his garment was smiling as though he was winning a battle. I knew God had not forsaken Jesus; He could not interfere with the work of Jesus now being almost completed on the harsh cross of Calvary. However, as the last drops of blood eased from Jesus, the human emotion of being abandoned and alone, rejected by the people he was dying for, and now God had left Him to die alone without help.
Then a soft plea from Jesus; “I am thirsty” (John 19:28 NIV.). Jesus has a peace, He knows the work is done and prophecy is fulfilled and the last blood sacrifice is offered for the sin of all mankind, forever the law has been fulfilled.
As I heard Jesus’ next words, “it is finished.” (John 19:30 NIV.). What I heard, was the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, declare my sin forgiven, my salvation purchased, all I would have to do is believe what my mind’s eye is seeing, and like the thief confess my sin, and ask with my heart and mouth Jesus save me, come into me and live in my heart; Jesus will.
The next words were from God the Son to God the Father, and were given in love and trust, unlike the last from Jesus’ human nature, these words are of confidence in God, not words of abandonment and rejection. Jesus spoke from under His blood-matted hair, as he lifted His face to Heaven and said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (John, 19:30 NIV.). Then Jesus took a breath, His head fell, He gave up His spirit. A great flash of lightening and a deafening clap of thunder, the earth rumbled, and a Roman Centurion spoke nearby “surely this was the Son of God,” the people beat their fists on their chests and left. The great curtain separating the people from the most holy place, was torn from the top to the bottom, we can now enter into God’s presence in Christ Jesus.
As I viewed the parting crowd, I noticed that dark figure once again, his eyes seemed to lock on mine, he was not smiling now, and his jaw was set, as if to say the battle is not over. But, I knew that in three days the war would end and reveal Jesus as the victor, but there would be many battles, some we will lose, if we fight them alone, but in Christ Jesus we can win them all.
Lightning exploded across the blackened skies and the rain began to fall in increasing measure. The clay-based road became slick, only the pre-existent ruts giving any traction to the tires on my old truck. If this continued any longer I’d be walking. Perhaps it served as an ample metaphor, as I was transported back in time, to the time of the ancients. Chaco Canyon.
I’d come to Northern New Mexico to see the ruins left behind by the Chacoan people. They’d lived in this area from 850-1150 AD, time leaving remnants of ceremonial buildings in possible celestial patterns in a long canyon on the desert floor. The culture vanished like the following days’ receding rains, leaving behind little but mystery.
The frog pot belongs to the voters…