It is a long way from our home to Jerusalem. My family and I made this journey because we desire, at least once, to celebrate the Passover in this city. Though we are not Jews, we have come to faith in the God named Jehovah.
As we approach the city this Friday morning, we cannot help but notice the soldiers on the hill who are crucifying three men. They are, no doubt, transgressors of the worst kind.
We are arriving later than planned. Having obtained food, we find a shady place to rest.
As we begin to eat, we are stunned at the arrival of an unexpected darkness. It is difficult to see each other even though it is midday! We also notice that everywhere the conversation is alive with the topic of the crucifixion.
What makes this crucifixion so exceptional?
The more closely I listen in, I am amazed that some are saying that the Christ is being crucified! How can this be? Certainly this man must have been a fraud. Anyone could claim to be the Christ.
Yet I am curious and begin to ask questions.
They say this man preached convincingly and with authority. His was a message of repentance and faith. They say he supported his words with irrefutable miracles. The blind were given sight. The deaf began to hear. The crippled were able to walk.
Do not the Scriptures say that such signs would point to the Christ? I even heard that this man recently raised from the dead someone who had been buried four days!
Astonishing! The more I hear about this man’s words and actions, the more it sounds like he may have truly been the Messiah. How can it be that he is being crucified?
Having instructed my family to wait for my return in the lodgings we found, I am going back to the place known as Golgotha. I must see this man again and try to understand what is taking place.
When I look upon him, I see nothing special. I can read the superscription. It says that his name is Jesus of Nazareth.
How strange it is that his crime is summarized as “King of the Jews.”
It is a terrible thing to see a man being crucified. Yet he now seems strangely calm. They are giving him a drink from a sponge.
Listen–he is about to speak.
“IT IS FINISHED!”
That did not sound like a man defeated. He sounded victorious!
Now he is looking toward heaven and is commending his spirit into the Father’s hands. He’s dead.
What is going on? The ground is trembling in response to his death! Even the centurion says the man was righteous–yes, that he was God’s Son.
God’s Son is dead!? How? Why?
After so many years of waiting for the Messiah, is this what was supposed to happen?
As I make my way back to our lodgings, I am searching the Scriptures in my mind, attempting to make sense of this.
Wait . . . Now I remember! The prophet had written: “He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sins of many, and He made intercession for the transgressors.”
Another prophet had said: “They will look upon me whom they have pierced.”
I cannot stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. My heart is pounding in my chest. I have seen the Messiah! I heard Him speak!
By dying for me He has done what God had promised He would do. I cannot wait to tell my family and our friends back home!
From now on, my life shall have this one purpose–to get to know better and better this Jesus of Nazareth . . . my Savior.
–Pastor Delwyn Maas