Friday, March 27, 2015

Walking Towards Easter, Day Eight

Mark 15:33-41
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah!” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, offered Him a drink, and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down!”

But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last. Then the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When He was in Galilee, they would follow Him and help Him. Many other women had come up with Him to Jerusalem.

Didn't those watching Jesus die, think it was strange it became dark at noon? What were the religious leaders who had helped orchestrate this event thinking? Were they beginning to feel uneasy? And how did they explain the tearing in half of the sanctuary curtain. A curtain that was 60 feet high, 30 feet wide and four inches think. How did they explain that it tore from top to bottom? Who was up there to tear it if not God? A God who wanted to open wide the door to Him.

"There were also women looking on" and possibly a lot of them, as "many other women had come up with Him to Jerusalem." I love the loyalty of the women, their love for Jesus. These members of society who had very little voice, very little respect. They remained faithful friends to Jesus through the horrible, scary events. I love reading the words of the Roman soldier, "This man really was God's son." He is the first person (in Mark's gospel) to confess Jesus as God's son. He, a Roman soldier, someone hated by the Jews. I see a God who loves the lowest  in society. He loves the outcast, the voiceless. He opens the door wide to them - to us all. The door to Jesus is closed to no one.

This door is open because of Jesus on the cross. The door is open because all my selfishness and pride and lack of concern for the pain of others was heaped on Jesus. He carried all my stuff onto the cross with him and now he says to me, "Shawna, I have made you clean. Walk through the open door. Walk with me forever."

I am never able to wrap my thoughts fully around the enormity of this. But I am so very grateful. I have walked through the open door and I am never leaving.

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