An Act of Worship and a Meal
A pricey flask is broken and poured out over the head of Jesus. Their words: “what a waste… it could have been sold and the proceeds put to real use.” His words: “She has done a beautiful thing to me…she has prepared my body for burial.” A betrayal is beginning, but first a meal. Bread and wine – body and blood of a man and not a lamb. A once and for all atonement. Best of friends sharing a meal. Eternal sustenance through remembrance. Talk of departure, betrayal and denial. Confusion on their part…yet profound clarity for Jesus. They sing together. Even when they don’t understand, they sing. And something about that strengthens them for the coming hours.
Betrayal and Denial
A midnight prayer session with honest and gut wrenching agony in his words:
“My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death”
“Abba, Father” (Papa, Daddy)
“don’t let it go down like this”
Then humble obedience:
“Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
The story written before the stars were hung continues to unfold in a horrific nightmare. The kiss of a friend that would mark the Savior’s head. No longer a secret stab in the back, but a public kiss. Betrayal. A mob, swords and clubs, men yelling and grappling as the Lamb kneels before the wolves.
A tribal trial. Their question: “Are you the Christ?” His answer: “I am…” They cry: “Blasphemy!” They spit on him.
There is a crowd gathering. A rooster crows. Accusations fly: “You were with that Nazarene man, Jesus.” Peter flat out denies it. Another bystander, another accusation, and the third denial. The rooster crows again and Peter (the rock) weeps as prophesy is fulfilled.
A Death Sentence
Those who should have known best, the men who knew Scripture and the law like the back of their own hands, could not see who he was. And still claiming blasphemy, they demand crucifixion. Jesus is handed over to the Roman government. Pilate gives Jesus the chance to defend himself. He asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answers, “You have said so.” There is nothing to argue. The Lamb is silent before the shears . The crowds outside were swept into the intoxicating drama that was unfolding. They laugh and jeer and yell. “Pilate offers to release a prisoner as a peace offering to the angry crowd. The Governor yells, “How about, Jesus?” The crowd: “Give us Barabbas, the murderer, instead!” Pilate addresses the them one more time, “Then what shall I do with this man you call King of the Jews?” The volume of the crowd swells again, “crucify him!”
The Road to Crucifixion
On the crowded streets of Jerusalem, a random passerby is picked to help carry the King’s cross. Simon of Cyrene, a Greek-speaking Jew from the region of northern Africa was likely in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Yet, instead of celebrating, watches a man claiming to be the King of the Jews, struggling to carry the cross on which he would be die. Something is not right…
On the road to Golgotha, bruised and bloody, mocked and shamed, Jesus carried the weight of the sins of the very men who beat him and mocked him. He carried their sins, and He carried your sins, too.
And They Crucified Him
Then spend some time with the following song:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is through the agony of thirty-nine lashes, a crown of thorns, and spikes through both his feet and hands Jesus makes this gut-wrenching exclamation. Forsaken, rejected, and cut off from His Father, the Creator who sustains Saturn and its rings by the words of His mouth and gives light to the Sun. The Son bore the weight of sin. Even creation itself recognized this hour as the darkest hour in all of history as darkness swept across the landscape. Though creation bowed down not everyone recognized Jesus as King. Darkness fell while eyes were only beginning to open…but, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:5
The scandal of the cross is that Jesus died for the very men and women who mocked him, humiliated him, shamed him, beat him, and unjustly accused him of wrong doing. And the truth is that you too have joined the crowd. Though your mocking, reviling, disinterest, or insults may look different than those present at the crucifixion, you have played a part in sending Jesus to the cross. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”
Now take some time to reflect and journal about the following:
What would it have been like to be there when Jesus was sentenced, beaten, and sent to the cross?
What would it have been like to stand in the disciple’s shoes, Pilates shoes, in Judas’ shoes?
What would have been your reaction? Skeptical of the so-called King of the Jews? Dismissive of His claims and teachings? Would you have been broken by his brokenness? Would you have been compassionate or judgmental? Put yourself in the crowd and reflect.
We have all fallen short of worshiping Jesus as we ought. What is one area in life that you have fallen short of honoring Jesus? Confess that now and ask Him to help you honor him in that area.
As you trust in Christ’s atoning death for your sins, what is one thing that really stands out in your life that you can thank Him for?
If you have never acknowledged Christ’s death for you, consider doing so now by writing a personal prayer to Him. You can start with, “Thank you Jesus for dying for my sins. I need you….”
Video Credit | Joel Limpic is the Pastor of Worship and Arts at Park Church in Denver, CO. Click here for more music.
Post written by Chris Clark and Russell Boone