Friday, April 03, 2015

Their Guilt He Shall Bear

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

By Melanie Rigney

… through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.  (Isaiah 53:11)

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. (John 19:30)

Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.

Estimates are that around 50,000 people lived in Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. But the number in town swelled by more than double, perhaps by five times, for holidays such as Passover. One might imagine the city fairly bursting at the seams, with visiting relatives and other pilgrims.
Imagine how the average resident or visitor would have reacted to the crucifixion of three men, one of them whom some said was the messiah. While crucifixion was considered to be a particularly shameful, ignoble death, the practice wasn’t a rarity. Indeed, a generation or so later in 70 AD, one Roman general would crucify more than 500 Jews in a single day.
So perhaps people in Jerusalem simply shook their heads—another madman, proved wrong—and went about the Passover observance. Perhaps those who had lost a relative to a bad end heard his mother had been there to the end, and gave a sigh for her. Perhaps others prayed for the day the Lord would send the true, promised savior.
Some of those who had followed Jesus went underground, fearful they would be the next to die. Some were so frightened at the prospect of being publicly associated with the dead man that they lied about it. Some grieved inconsolably.
And perhaps a few remembered what Isaiah had prophesied about the suffering servant… and dared to believe, if not say, that this was not the end.

What problem in your life do you secretly believe the Lord is incapable of resolving? Spend time in front of a crucifix today, outside of services. Listen.

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