The crucifixion of Jesus caught everyone by surprise… but Jesus. No one else saw Judas as the betrayer of the Lord. Jesus did. No one saw the false witnesses coming to twist Jesus’ words against him. But Jesus did. No one saw the charge of blasphemy being leveled against him. But Jesus did.
Over and again in the last months of their journey together Jesus spoke to prepare the disciples for what He was going to meet in Jerusalem… a midnight arrest; a travesty of a trial; an execution. Some heard these words as the words of a fatalist. Thomas said, “Let’s go to Jerusalem that we can die with him.” He saw it as a suicidal mission. It was inevitable; as angry as Jesus made the religious leaders, as jealous and envious as they were over His stealing away their hearts… and as paranoid as the Romans were over any would-be messianic pretender… crucifixion was the only logical end.
But Jesus had predicted it. He wanted them to know that, when He went to the cross, it was not defeat but destiny. Not the end but the beginning. He wanted them to look beyond the horror of what they were seeing and see with eyes of faith what God was accomplishing through Jesus.
And He wanted them to know that He was not a victim but a victor and the cross was not a place of shame but a throne of honor as He followed His Father even in obedience to that place. He wanted them to see this bad day… as a good one.
The darkness that descended that Friday noon was literal but was more a symbolic “pulling of the shade” over the traumatic sight of the Son of God, second person of the Trinity, Deity incarnate, being pulled away from the Father’s love as “He became sin for us who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He took our place and the Father treated Him as a person who deserved our punishment. “All of our sins were upon Him and by His wounds we are healed.”
And so the darkness descended on a bad day… turned good.
And Jesus died.
And they crucified Him. Mark 15:24
FOR REFLECTION: How has the death of Jesus been made good for you?