I was thinking about this on my way home after a fairly uneventful Good Friday at work. Upon reflection, the timeline of Jesus’ crucifixion against my day as a Resolution Specialist for a Pharmacy Benefit Manager who claims him as Lord and Savior. And just how little I thought about this throughout the day. Let’s start with the night before. Though I have no real specific time to work with, I’ll manage well, I think. Before I even begin, the title of this entry says it all. Not even close.
To draw parallels to that evening, we will start with dinner. I was at work last night eating Taco Bell at my desk, while my coworker hashed out an e-mail response to our boss. I wasn’t thinking about Jesus or what he suffered for me. I think I was probably listening to my iPod, possibly a Driscoll sermon. I’m not 100% sure, but that is the usual Thursday night for me at work. Jesus was having his final supper with his disciples, knowing what was going to happen to him in the coming hours. Pointing to Judas Iscariot, the man who played his friend while secretly stealing from him and plotting to turn him over to be executed, and tells him to his face that he is going to betray him. Then telling Peter he would deny him not once, not twice but thrice, knowing that everything he has told them will come to pass. I would say that my Taco Bell and iPod pale terribly in comparison.
Moving on to things that stick out. Later that evening, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to the garden of Gesthemene. I made allusions to this in my previous post on Hematidrosis.
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to s the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
My evening consisted of some good conversation with some friends and family, then coming to my room, reading The Hidden Smile of God by Jon Piper and feeding my mind. That night, Jesus was so wrought with anxiety that he was sweating drops of blood, knowing that he was facing certain death. And I wasn’t really thinking about this. I know I wasn’t. I was wrapped up in reading about William Cowper and his sorrow in life.
It is at this point that Jesus is turned over, tried, beaten and mocked. I was sleeping. This all happened and then, in the third hour [9 AM]:
39 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.
So, at 9 AM I can tell you with all assurance that I was dead to the world. And his suffering had just begun. And I for sure was not thinking or reflecting on what was happening at Golgotha. I continue:
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
At noon a darkness covered the land while Jesus suffered from a pain so horrible they created a word to describe it: excruciating [thanks, Driscoll]. This started at noon, which would have been about the time I got up this morning. I didn’t even give it a passing thought that today was Good Friday. I was more concerned with shaking the sleep out of my head and making fun of my little brother who was sleeping on the couch because he had a friend over last night. That was when I was reminded, because he was not at school. I asked him why and he told me Easter break. Whoops.
Now, from noon to three PM, Jesus suffered being mocked, spit on, harassed. Bleeding profusely and suffering from every inch of his body. The thought of crucifixion alone just rattles me to my very core. The person is nailed through their hands, closer to the wrist, and through the feet and suspended with arms spread wide by the nails putting immense pressure on the lungs and making it extremely difficult to breathe. The only way to draw a full breath was to pull yourself up by your limbs and breathe. I’m sure this is elementary for most, but the description never ceases to give me the shudders. In order for Jesus to cry out in a loud voice as he did he would have had to pull himself up by the nails in his hands and push up with his legs with the nails in his feet. That is pain beyond comparison and measure. I don’t even think there is a way to quantify that.
And I, from noon to three today, was waking up, getting ready, going to work and taking phone calls. I was dealing with people who were complete and utter jerks to me yet would wish me a happy Easter. I thought, “What contradiction. What phonies. What a great testament to what great Christians there are out there… if indeed they celebrated the true Easter.” But I never really thought about what it meant. What was happening, what was going on… And now that I am thinking about it I can’t even wrap my head around anyone wanting to carry that cross, literally. But he did. And I’m thinking now that this post is important in more than one way. It is to remind me that just like every day should be celebrated like we celebrate Christmas, every day should be celebrated like it’s Easter.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Please don’t mistake this post. I’m not trying to run myself on a guilt-trip, I’m not trying to guilt trip you. My writings are not typically to invoke your conviction, but to maybe tickle your brain and maybe stir your soul if I have been given the gift of words to say something right. So, don’t come away from this post with ill feelings or guilt unless you truly feel you have a reason to feel that way.
But come Sunday remember the words that you probably repeated in church a million times without thinking about it. At least, that’s how it was for me for a long time.
He is risen. He is risen indeed.