April 14, 2006

Horse 530 - Abandoned

Most Christians when considering the events of today will have looked at the phyisical suffering of Jesus and what it would have been like to be whipped, beaten spat upon, nailed through the flesh and then hung on a cross to suffocate for several hours.
We can relate to the phyisical pain quite easily because it's something that none of us would want to go through but even more shocking are the other events in this horrible story.

This day starts because Jesus had been accused of crimes which he has not committed. He answers to calling himself the "King of the Jews" which both the Pharisees and the Romans dislike, and they set about to have this man disposed of.

Luke 23:4 - Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."


Luke 23:14 - You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.

And a third time,

Luke 23:22 - For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him."

The man charged with the responsibility of finding Jesus guilty finds no charges by which he can force punishment, yet still yields to the will of the people. Jesus is the victim of a corrupt and dispicable justice system. Usually we jump up when a judge hands down a penalty that is too lenient, only occasionally do we pine for the justice of an innocent man, but here the penalty is capital and yet we don't even bat an eyelid.

Luke 23:23-24 - But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Pilate being a weak judge, gives into the people's demands and releases a murderer. Where's the justice in this?

Luke 23:26 - As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Who is Simon of Cyrene? You'd think that if Jesus was being crucified then his own disciples would have the common decency of at least saying goodbye to him, but where are they? They spent three years following hime around the place and at this juncture even they've abandoned him.

Who else abandons Jesus?

Mark 15:33-34 - At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" — which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

I suspect that the world turned dark because God turned his back on his own son. Since God can not stand to exist in a place where sin lives and Jesus became sin for us, God literally forsook his own son.
If a father abandons his own son or tells his son to go to hell and actually means it, then this will be remembered forever. It is a horrible thing to tell your own children to go away because you can not bear to look at them.

Luke 23:50-56 - Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Did Joseph of Arimathea know what was going on or was he just being nice to the man who he'd seen die. Remember we're told that he didn't agree with the decisions of the corrupt judges and despite the Passover celebrations only a couple of days away he still does what is only proper. Again no mention of the 11 at all where were they?

Jesus - Abandoned by His nation, the priests who supposedly were waiting for His coming, His disciples who been hanging around for 3 years and abandoned by God. And he didn't complain about this? He went wilingly? What sort of man is this?

Luke 15:12-14 - My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

There's the essence of this. A man who loved the people of the world, despite knowing that they'd abandon him, laugh and mock him, then kill him.

How much does that hurt? How much pain and suffering does that entail?

And we have the nerve to call this Good Friday. Today is a day when collectively we should be both thankful and ashamed that the reason any of this happened is only because we abandoned God first.

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