Monday, March 30, 2015

Walking Towards Easter, Day Nine

My brain does not want to think about the pain Jesus experienced, the torture. It is barbaric and I instinctively try to turn my thoughts to gentler images. I want to jump straight to his resurrection, to his restored and pain free body. How cowardly and weak I am, but my Savior deserves my full attention to ALL he endured to set me free. I pray for the courage to truly look at his crucifixion and, thus, to better grasp the gift he has given me. Please Jesus, make this so in me. Help me to live out your gift.

Matthew 27:32-56
As they were going out, they found a Cyrenian man named Simon. They forced this man to carry His cross. When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place), they gave Him wine mixed with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots. Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:


Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!”

Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.

When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and ministered to Him were there, looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

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