Reading over all four crucifixion accounts this morning I realize, again, there are so many elements to the brief Gospel accounts. Jesus was wrongly accused, yet He did not say a word, apart from suggesting that, "It is as you say," when questioned if He was the King of the Jews. He did not defend Himself. He didn't need to; He was the spotless Lamb, like those repeatedly being sacrificed in the Old Testament, yet now being offered as the once for all Sacrifice for mankind's sin.
He said not a word when being mocked, spat upon or whipped. He carried His cross without complaint despite the fact He had to have been in immense pain...and knowing what was at the end of that walk to Golgotha. He did it for each of us, without complaint.
Then there's Simon the Cyrene. He was ordered to help Jesus carry His cross. It shows us that as believers and followers we, too, are to carry this cross for Him. When we are mocked for our beliefs, we continue speak the truth. We carry on our roles in sharing the same message as Jesus, the disciples and any followers since. It will not be easy sometimes because we will face some of the same things...some even death for those beliefs.
Two thieves were also being led to the place where Jesus was nailed to the cross, one on either side of Him. One was angry, one repentant. At the last minute of the one thief's life, he was pardoned. Jesus never stopped forgiving and doing His Father's will. I love these words from the forgiven thief to the other: Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds...(Luke 23:40-41) We are all guilty of sin. None are righteous, none without fault. We all need to react like this thief or we are like the unrepentant one. One went to paradise, one did not. So it still is. One will receive eternal life, another will not.
All but John's account mentioned the tearing of the veil in the temple, the earth quaking, dark skies. We don't know why and it doesn't change the fact it happened. John was the closest to Jesus, like a brother. Maybe his focus was more on the Lord and His mother. Jesus' death meant that there no longer needed to be a separation between God and man that so prevailed in the Old Testament rituals when the high priest was the mediator...the veil of separation was gone, Jesus becoming our Great High Priest and our only Mediator between God and man. When one realizes that Jesus truly is the Son of God who took away the sins of the earth...if one believes by faith and receives Christ into their lives...we can go to the throne of God boldly (Hebrews 4:16).
Easter is not about egg hunts or bunnies! I really don't know where those customs come from. And although we go through the motions of celebrating this time of year, we should be celebrating every day. Celebrate Him and who He is, what He has done and what He is still willing to do for those who seek Him. Celebrate the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords. Celebrate our lives if we have received Christ.
Don't think that your sins are automatically forgiven because you've read this or went to church on Easter or go every week. There is more you need to do. Your sins are only forgiven if you receive Christ. If there is ever any feeling of uncomfortableness in hearing the name of Jesus, saying His name or you don't like these words or the words of pastors, maybe you haven't done this.
Is He your King? Has He changed your life? Has He forgiven you of your sins? Have you let Him? Every day is a new day to do this.
Philippians 2:9-11 - Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.