“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify Him!”
“Why? What crime has He committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify Him!”
It comes as a whisper.
A spoken thought between a smattering in the crowd. Almost an afterthought from the discussion in the governor’s hall. What to do with this man who claims to be King?
It comes again. Joined by more voices, a little louder, a little more certain. Two words. They resound off the walls, swimming through the sound waves to hit the remaining sea of people gathered at the hearing. It is a terrifying concert.
Pilate looks through this swarm of faces. Do they understand what they are saying? The release of a malicious prisoner for the life of a Lamb?
He pleads before them. “Are you certain of your decision? Do you need more time to think it over?”
They answer quickly. “Crucify Him!” Octaves rise, tempers boil. The man before them, the one staring with gentle, unnerving eyes, claims to be the Messiah. He promised to save Israel, to lead His people. But He did not ascend to the throne, did not give the masses the change they hoped for. Instead, He spoke of things like living water and a narrow gate to a wide open eternity. He preached love your neighbor and turn the other cheek. So He’ll get the other cheek, all right. In their maddening murmurs: “Crucify Him!”
Pilate’s reasoning falls on deaf ears, and with a resigned sigh, he acquiesces to their demand. Barabbas- free to roam the streets; Jesus- sentenced to die.
The crowd ignites in satisfactory screams, bolder by the verdict. And the convicted Comforter is led away to a windowless room, where a legion of soldiers flog and mock Him. A twisted crown of thorns. A scarlet robe. A staff in His right hand and sneers, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
And then the cross. To crucify means to put to death by nailing or binding the wrists or hands and feet to a cross. It also means to destroy the power of; mortify, to treat cruelly. The Roman soldiers mean to strip every ounce of dignity and power from Jesus and turn His reason for coming to earth into a mockery. So they beat the nails into His skin, strap Him to two pieces of wood, and raise Him up on top of a hill. Then they cast lots for His garments and tease Him, tell Him that if He is truly the Son of God He could get Himself off of that cross.
The Son of God stays silent. His breathing is ragged, labored. Face swollen from multiple beatings, He is pinned straight up against a wooden wall, but through the slits of His eyes, He looks at each soldier and bystander, hears the insults hurled at His broken body. He hangs not for right now, to prove a point to those there to witness. He is hanging for the world. For those who walked the dusty streets of Samaria long before His heavenly sandals touched earth. And for those who have yet to arrive, making their home in a land across the Atlantic. He has every power to take Himself down and amaze the crowds. But He is doing the will of His Father.He is hanging for the world. @SRennAwake Click To Tweet
His Father, who, as the sky rolls black and the air fills thick and heavy, cannot even look at Him, His Son, stained with the sins of humanity.
Jesus lifts His eyes to heaven, breathing shallow. With the handful of air left in His lungs, He releases His Spirit, and the temple curtain tears in two.
The world is suspended in darkness.