By O’Ceallaigh –
The trial was over. It wasn’t much of a trial. Trumped up charges, paid witnesses, all the “Religion -baiters” of the day were there, charging the crowd with their epithets.
Jesus took it all, like a Lamb, led to the slaughter.
He had been with His disciples the night before laying out before them the beautiful symbolism of the Passover meal. There was the unleavened bread, and the wine, representing His body and blood.
“This is the ‘New Covenant’ in my blood,” He said.
This was symbolic of the blood that He was about to drain from His veins. Blood that was His life! Blood that He gave to them! To us! Life, that He gave to us.
He offered us the life that He had in order to take upon Himself the life – or the death – that we had. Substitution! That’s what all the lambs in the Israelite sacrifices, for centuries, were picturing! The lamb was a substitute for the sinner! The lamb died in place of the sinner!
Now, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was about to die, “Once for all,” in place of the sinners, every one of which deserved death, for “All have sinned” and “the wages of sin is death.”
His blood. His life. His redemption. His salvation. Regardless of the sin. Mine – yours! Big –small, there’s no difference.
The sky turns black; thunder clouds roll in. They are so thick that they blot out the sun. Lightning flashes, silhouetting three crosses etched against the blackness. There’s Jesus in the middle. His Mother, John and Mary Magdalene are standing at the foot. Looking – waiting.
Then there’s a cry from the cross: “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
Had He? It appeared so. He didn’t come to save Him from the cross. The smug priests stood back a way muttering, “He saved others, Himself cannot save!”
Little did they know that what they were saying was the truth! If He were to save Himself, the plan of salvation would be a failure and all sinners would be forever lost.
Yes, the priests were right. He couldn’t save both! – His commitment was made. “He would save man at any cost to Himself!”
“Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit.” He reaffirms His faith and trust in His Father, and dies.
The first day of the Passover was about to end. The sun was about to set. The Sabbath was approaching.
The Jewish leaders, Priests ,Pharisees and others who had been so zealous in their efforts to get Pontius Pilate to condemn Jesus to death, now were concerned about the Sabbath! It wouldn’t be appropriate to have these thieves and criminals hanging about on the Passover Sabbath! Something had to be done before the Sabbath began!
They appealed to Pilate! “Break their legs so they can’t run away and get them off the crosses! We can’t have the worshipers seeing them up there – on such a holy day!”
Well, they did, but when they came to Jesus, they left His legs alone because He was already dead. Prophecy was again fulfilled. “Not a bone of him should be broken.”
The Sabbath came – and went. Nothing is said about the joyful worship of that Passover Sabbath,- that High Sabbath! Scripture is silent.
Jesus rested in the tomb.
But, when the Sabbath was past, and it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb to prepare the body of Jesus for permanent burial. But, He wasn’t there. He was risen! The Angel said so!
Now, time has passed and it’s Passover again. Friday evening, 2015, one thousand, nine hundred eighty-four years later. Another High Sabbath. In Christendom, Easter weekend. And we look back and, in our mind’s eye see an empty cross. But we also see an empty tomb!
Because, He’s Alive!