What do you know of the Easter story? Do you only look at Sunday? Do you only focus on Jesus rising up? Is it the miracle of overcoming death that draws all of your attention? Perhaps we should all focus a little time on the events leading up to the crucifixion and the crucifixion itself.
A lot happens in the final week leading up to the crucifixion. But let’s just focus on those last couple of days. Let’s start with Jesus instructing His disciples to prepare the Passover meal for them to share on Thursday. Jesus gives specific instructions for where they will eat it.
While they were eating the meal, Jesus states that one of them will betray Him. He knows that Judas has already made the agreement and already been paid for the deed. He also institutes the new covenant through the giving of bread and wine, which we call The Last Supper. We commonly call the reenactment of this The Lord’s Supper, Communion, or The Eucharist.
Jesus then leads His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and prays. His soul is troubled. He doesn’t want to face the brutality of what He knows is coming. He prays so fervently that He sweats drops that appear like blood. Yet His Apostles could not stay awake with Him.
Judas leads a contingent of priests, Pharisees, and Roman soldiers to arrest Him. He is taken away to Anas (a priest), then to Caiaphas (the high priest), and finally to Pilate (the Roman Governor). This all happens throughout the night and into the early morning.
Pilate attempts to release Him. The Jewish leaders continually accuse Him and demand Him to be crucified. Pilate sent Jesus to be flogged and brought Him before the crowd in an effort to satisfy the crowd while not sentencing Him to death. They were not satisfied and continue to demand Him to be crucified. Pilate relents and gives them what they want.
Jesus is sent to Golgotha (the place of the skull) to be crucified alongside two criminals. He is jeered, mocked, and spit on. One criminal joins those who are mocking Him. The other criminal demonstrates his belief in Jesus. Jesus forgives him while on the cross.
The soldiers divide up His clothes. The sky turns dark for three hours. The curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple is miraculously torn in two as Jesus breathes His last. A Roman soldier pierces His side to verify He is dead. Jesus is taken to a new tomb and buried.
I pray we all spend time thinking about the horrible death of Jesus. I pray we come to realize He did this for us. I pray each one of us are sorrowful for our part in causing Him to die. Recognize your sin. Realize you are a reason for Jesus’ death. Repent of your sin. Be truly sorrowful for it.
John 19:28-30 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.