And when his friends had gone away and night had fallen they took him and ridiculed and slandered him. Charges were trumped up against him in late evening when few were aware or present. He was alone with his enemies. And things got terribly worse for him. The wounds inflicted on him seemed more about hate than retribution.
Yet he gave no defense because he’d done no wrong. The world didn’t understand him so they viewed him as a threat to their own politics and power. They had no clue who they were really dealing with. He allowed them that night to do with him what they wished. He didn’t fight back or rail. He knew his purpose. He paid a heavy price that night. He carried a weight beyond measure.
The next day there was surely a hush over the landscape. The preacher had been put down and silenced. He would not longer be able to gain the attention of the masses. His friends, no doubt, would now be quiet and go away.
How or why did this escalate to the end of the gentle healer? Through a blurred and salty vision this man that night saw past the offences of his revilers. He saw them with a compassion and love that they couldn’t know or ever embrace.
Unbeknownst to all, those darkest hours were ushering in a new light that would never fade or fail. Waiting, hoping, longing – they all waited in silence not knowing the direction of the future for all. They all just had to wait.
The Lord Jesus Christ had an excruciating week leading up to his death. The religious leaders couldn’t take him any longer. He was a threat to their way of life. They thought that the laws they so carefully tried to follow were being mocked by this man. Yet he looked beyond the detail of the law and saw people and he saw their need. He knew people didn’t need a strict adherence to a set of rules and regulations. They needed a kinsman redeemer.
They found a judge in that Thursday night who probably owed them favors. And with a trumped up trial after hours they brought their so-called charges against this man Jesus. With the help of a kangaroo court this sinless man fell in the hands of an angry mob. They handled him as if he was less than a human. Little did they know he was much much more.
Yet this man who’d loved others beyond explanation submitted himself to torturous pain. He could have ended this horror with a single word or thought. Yet in the dark of this night he would allow his mocking crowd to do their bidding. In the crowd that night there were possibly some of the very people who’d witnessed him heal a blind man or raise his dead friend from a tomb.
Anguish and humiliation continued through the night. This man was not getting away with his crimes of passion. A determination had been made to end him, once and for all. So they took him down alright.
They probably wondered how this man could’ve endured the beating that he’d already taken and still be alive and conscious. In his final hours he still had the compassionate thought to reach out to another condemned man. The doomed soul beside him realized that this man Jesus had to me more than just a common man, not just by the way he lived by by the way he was dying. Even in his final agony this common thief received the passion of the Christ, and he believed.
So under the watchful curious eye of bystanders the execution of this Galilean carpenter came to an end. Even in his final gasps of breath he was asking his father to forgive his executioners. This was evidence enough to show that he was more than just a man. So they had their way took him down.
This story must be over.
I’ve been remiss in my writing and posting lately. Many different things jockey for our time. Most of them are worthy things that occupy my time. But there should always be a time to stop and think and reflect and record what’s going on.
I’ve met a ton of people in my life. Growing up I was not as outgoing as you’d think I might have been if you know me now. I guess I had the complex of being the heavy kid. And heavy or fat kids don’t get the greatest of respect at times. So the tendency is to take the back seat and stay in the background as the rest of the pack excels in relationships and life in general can be the norm. Yet even us fat kids were quietly building our lives, even if nobody even realized or cared.
Fast forward to now and I think I’m pretty self assured, even though I am still the “big” guy in the pack. As aging has set in I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter what I look like or how fat I might be. I’ve decided to be a friend even to those I might not know. That doesn’t always work out, but I try and find things in others to talk to them about and find out details of their lives and the things that makes them tick. I’ve found that I find joy in learning of other’s experiences. I try and encourage others on their journey. Life is fleeting and we don’t have a ton of time to live our lives to the full.
I get reflective at times. For some reason the changing of the seasons has a tendency to fuel thoughts. As the natural order of the plant world changes from life to death to life again, so our lives take on the same form. Spring has sprung and death becomes alive again. Former living things that were brown and wilted and gone, are now sprouting forth with tender and green vegetation. The air is full of fresh air as the plants take a poison gas (carbon monoxide) and turn it into life giving air for all of human kind.
Go and enjoy and soak up God’s creation and be thankful for new life. It is all around us this time of year!
I have days when I am compelled to write. Writing is simply a revelation of what is going on in one’s mind. Today is one such day for me.
Driving back from lunch it dawned on me that this is Easter week. It usually slips up on me. For those of you who’ve seen what I say on here, I am someone who believes in traditional values. I lean pretty far to the right on most social and political issues and I don’t apologize for that. I’ve a passion for life and liberty and justice. I enjoy simple pleasures. I enjoy humor. I relish passionate spiritual music from another era (crazy I know). I get jazzed and motivated serving others. That’s my calling.
But this week of the year pulls from me something that is from the depths of who I am. I know I’m a husband and a son and a father, and now I’m also a Pops. But who I really am is one who believes in the power of the cross of Christ. Yes, I realize it was a cruel and bloody event a long time ago in history that some people cringe and want to ignore. But the event of the cross was the pivotal point in all of human history. God made a bridge to himself with the horrible and brutal death of the God/man Jesus Christ. I’ve learned about him, I’ve prayed to God in his name. I’ve relied on him to carry me when I had no more strength. I’ve seen his hand and I’ve seen his heart. No human reasoning could ever change my mind about who I KNOW he is.
So as I ponder this week and the junk He was given to endure, it puts a big lump in my throat. I realize he did what he did to pay a debt for me, that I was incapable of honoring. Whatever you’re doing this week I urge you to stop and ponder the Christ who laid it down for us all. Embrace and accept him. Take the gift that is being freely offered to you, and don’t look back. If you do, you will realize and experience something called resurrection. That word means that something was dead and had new life breathed into it. You’ve heard that story. He died and went to a grave. His detractors thought they had snuffed him out. But he had new breath pumped into him a couple of days later. He stood up and walked out of his place of defeat and displayed God’s power one early morning. That is the story of Easter. I hope you see it and experience it like I have.