From the pen of Dr. Sam Jones
The Bible readings for today are Luke 23 and John 18-19. The readings of yesterday covered events only on Friday, the day of Christ’s Crucifixion. Today’s readings cover the events of Thursday evening and Friday. Let’s look at four events in the life of Jesus from these readings.
Jesus faced death with hope – When Judas and the soldiers came to arrest Jesus; He knew they were coming and expected their arrival. With courage, He didn’t resist; He identified Himself and allowed them to constrain Him. As I reflect on the garden scene, my thoughts go back roughly a year ago to Hope Shull and Jim Edmonds. Along with Jesus, they taught us how to die in hope. They were not afraid to die. Are you afraid? Hope should remove fear. Those in Christ die in hope; without hope, then there’s a reason to be afraid to die.
Jesus, before His Crucifixion, endured extreme humiliation – Herod’s soldiers entertained themselves at our Lord’s expense (Lk. 23:11). They dressed Him in a robe as a sarcastic gesture; they ridiculed Jesus. After this, Pilate put Him before the crowd for them to make a choice. He asked, do I release Jesus, a man found innocent; a man who has not hurt anyone; a man who has not so much spoken an improper word; a man who has not committed one wrong action; a man known by you to be a helper and healer of those in need; or Barabbas, a man who is a known murderer; a man who has robbed many; a man who has been involved in many insurrections; he has helped no one but himself? Then the crowd shouted, “Give us Barabbas” and “Crucify Jesus.” Next, Pilate’s soldiers took our Lord and put on Him a purple robe and a crown of thorns; they bowed before Him making a laughingstock of Jesus, and then they drenched His body with their saliva. In all of this, our Lord said and did nothing, but endured the humiliation.
Jesus was found innocent; yet He died the death of a criminal – Caiaphas, the high priest appointed by the Romans, had Jesus delivered to Pilate to be put to death. Pilate carefully examined Jesus several times, and each time he concluded the following: “I find no fault in this man (Lk.23:4); “I have found no fault in this man” (Lk. 23:14); “I have found no reason for death in Him” (Lk. 23:22); and “this Man has done nothing wrong” (Lk. 23:41). Yet, an innocent man died. Why? Because it took a Lamb’s blood without blemish to completely remove the stain of sin from our lives. Jesus died as an innocent criminal that we might be saved.
Jesus never stopped caring even in His final minutes – In the final minutes of Jesus’ life, after nearly 6 hours of intense pain He continued to care; He looked into the crowd and recognized Mary, His mother. He instructed John to care for her. Then, He said, “It is finished.” Jesus never ceased caring for His family and those in need. Do you have this passion for your love ones?
As you reflect on these four events, hopefully, they will remind you of what Jesus has and is doing for us. The million-dollar question for this morning is – “What are you going to do for Jesus today?”