Today’s Reading: Matthew 27:27-61, Mark 15:16-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:17-42
Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. – Matthew 27:27-31
These next few portions of scripture are difficult for me to read. It is hard to read about the pain Jesus suffered for us. It is hard to comprehend that a holy God could love a sinful people enough to send His very own son to be mocked, tortured and crucified. It is often more than we can fathom or wrap our minds around.
WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THIS?
They led Jesus away, walking up a road leading to the placed called Golgotha. At one point, the soldiers either had some compassion on Jesus or they became impatient with how long it was taking our wounded Lord to carry the cross. They seized a man walking by named Simon and made him carry the cross behind Jesus. A large crowd followed, including many grief-stricken women. Even in that awful moment, Jesus had compassion on the broken-hearted following this procession.
And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece…
The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”…
Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him. – Mark 15:22-32
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”…One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed…but the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:34,39-43
Again, the compassion of Jesus is displayed. Even while he was suffering, he was thinking of the purpose for which he was dying – salvation.
WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THIS?
Scripture says that Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9 o’clock in the morning. At noon, darkness fell over the whole land. At about three o’clock, the time at which the Passover lamb would be sacrificed, Jesus called out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46).
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. – Matthew 27:50-52
When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” – Mark 15:39
Many walked away in deep sorrow while some stayed close by. A man named Joseph came with an order from Pilate to release Jesus’ body to Joseph. His loved ones followed as Jesus’ body was placed in the new tomb. By now it as the Sabbath so they would have to wait until Sunday morning to anoint his body.
WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THIS?
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned, he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. – Isaiah 53:3-12