“Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit.” Matthew 27:50
It seems like yesterday that Jesus was walking among the people healing and giving encouragement to everyone who would listen. Yesterday He gathered His disciples together in the Upper Room for their last supper together. They were all there: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, otherwise known as Thaddaeus, and Judas Iscariot. (Luke 6:13-16) They were all there around the table.
Jesus took the bread and broke it indicating that it represented His body. He took the cup and passed it among the 12 saying it was His blood that was shed for them that their sins might be forgiven. The disciples were mystified! What did Jesus mean?
However, there was one among them who Jesus knew would betray Him. He told the group that one of them would in fact betray Him on that very night. They looked at each other wondering, “Who could it be?” Amazing isn’t it how we always seek to blame someone? In fact, Judas Iscariot left rather quickly—so they knew.
Then, Jesus and the Disciples went to the garden to pray. He left eight of them at the entrance telling them to wait. He took Peter, James and John on into the garden with Him leaving them beside a tree and told them to stay awake as He went a little farther. He fell face down and began to pour out His heart to His Father in heaven. He knew what He had to do in just a very short time. He cried out, “My Father!” (You can almost hear Him on that dark night so long ago.) “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” (Father, is there any other way We can save these people…?) “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus bowed down to His Father’s will and conceded to give Himself up to the torture and humiliation that was to come because of the Father’s love for His people. The end will justify the means! Yesterday’s gone, today is Friday.
The next day He had a trial of sorts that resulted in Him standing above a crowd that had gathered in the square. Pilate and the soldiers present Him and a thief named Barabbas to the crowd—they were going to be the judge. Some instigators were among them encouraging the crowd against Jesus. So that when they were asked which one should they release they shouted “BARABBAS!” When asked about Jesus they shouted, “CRUCIFY HIM, CRUCIFY HIM!” (Matthew 27:22, 23/John 19:15) The map was drawn.
The soldiers put a robe on Jesus and a crown of thorns was jammed down on His head so that droplets of blood began to flow. They flogged Him to an inch of His life and marched Him through the streets carrying His own means of crucifixion on His back. Finally, after arriving at the place, they nailed Him to that very cross and raised Him up for all to see. A hush came over the crowd as, I think, they were beginning to become aware of what they had allowed to happen.
Blackness came over the land. Jesus hung there not saying a word accept to answer one of the thieves beside Him when he asked forgiveness saying, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Then one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear causing blood and water to gush from His side. (John 19:34) Jesus endured insult and injury during His last days on earth. Then came the end. The ground quaked; the heavens rumbled; lightning flashed; and the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies, tore from top to bottom opening the way for forgiven sinners to come to Him. For Jesus had shouted just before the end, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do!” (Luke 23:34)
Father, today we remember once again the great sacrifice You have made for your children. There is no way to repay You but to love You with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul and to love each other. Your will be done. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
Matthew 27 John 19 Luke 23