Obsessed with silencing the voice of the man they labeled as a lunatic and blasphemer, they appealed to their governing authorities...with persistence. And when the decree sentencing Jesus to death by crucifixion was announced, they sighed with relief and smiled smugly. They got what they wanted. Finally, after of trying to get rid of the captivating teacher who spoke in parables, they won. Or so they thought. When I researched the meaning of the word Pharisee, I was stunned at the irony I found. Pharisee is derived from the Hebrewפרושים perushim from פרוש parush, which means separated. Those claiming to be men of God, could not have been farther from Him. They separated themselves from truth.
Jesus was captured, stripped of his clothing and his dignity. Spit from filthy mouths stained his holy face. Whips tore skin off his back and legs. Vicious, hateful words intended to break his heart were flung into the ears of God's son. Battered and bloodied beyond recognition, Jesus carried the heavy crossbeam until he broke underneath its weight.
When he arrived at the site of his execution, soldiers roughly restrained him and nailed his body to a cross. A cross that was most likely already stained by another's blood. To those carrying out the sentence, Jesus was just another criminal to use as an example. The cross was then erected. There Jesus hung until his lungs exhaled the last of their air. After Jesus uttered the words “it is finished,” those who had been waiting for that moment felt victorious. God's enemy, satan, probably cackled and howled with delight, because God's son who was sent to save the world was dead. The cross had changed everything. Evil triumphed, or at least it would seem that way until...
On the third day, Christ seized complete victory. His heart began beating again, his lungs took in air. He shook off the pounds of burial spices, unwrapped the linens from his once tattered body, moved the boulder that blocked entrance to his tomb, and walked out of that grave alive and whole. The cross could not silence the His voice.
My heart aches when I think about the suffering Christ endured on that brutal Friday. Yet my soul rejoices in the victory of Easter. I am a woman covered with flaws. Next to God, I would appear as grimy as an earth worm...because of the cross, I am forgiven.
Because of the cross, sin's curse has been crushed. Because of the cross, lies have been revealed and truth offered. Because of the cross, my puny existence has great purpose. Because of the cross, I can hold my children tight and assure them that no matter how ugly this world gets, there is hope. Because of the cross, I know that the most glorious moments I have been given in this lifetime will pale in comparison to what lays ahead for me in the next. Because of the cross, I can choose to have love, peace and joy present in my life every single day without exception. There is a second chance for each human being...all because of the cross.
"You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross." (Col. 2:13-15-NLT)