Sunday, March 24, 2013

With Easter fast approaching (and another snow storm I am told) I thought I might write and reflect on the things that occurred at the first Easter. Jesus was arrested after the high priests and elders found Judas to betray Jesus with a kiss. They had him brought to the house of Caiaphas the High Priest and held a trial. This trial was held at night and was against all Jewish tradition. They found "false witnesses" so that they might take Christ before Pilate in the morning.
They were wise enough to wait until morning and not wake Pilate. Pilate hated the Jews over whom he ruled. He wanted to reject their request to have Jesus killed and said " I find no fault in him at all" and probably would have released Christ except for the priests using threats against Pilate. They cried out, "If you let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." This threat tipped the scales. Pilate released Barabbas and ordered Jesus to be scourged and then crucified.
Scourging always preceded the crucifixion and the flogging alone was a horrible form of punishment. The body was stripped naked, tied to a post, and then was beaten with a multiple stranded whip with bones, rocks, and pieces of metal attached to its tips. The flogging actually cut and tore the skin and muscles from the  person and left the flesh hanging in tattered shreds.
Jesus was made to carry the cross piece of the cross from which he would be hung. Josephus calls crucifixion "the most pitiable of all forms of death," while Cicero says, "the most cruel and most frightful means of execution."
Christ was mocked by the soldiers, pressing a plaited crown of thorns onto his head, dressing him in purple, spitting and hitting him all the while. As Christ staggered under the burden of his cross and was made to walk to Golgotha the Roman guards surrounded him. The crowds pressed close to spit and snatch clumps of hair from his head and beard. He was so disfigured by the beatings and the trauma to his face, he was almost unrecognizable.
  Long spikes would have been driven through the flesh of Christ's wrists (a very tender spot indeed with the vast array of nerves found there) and through the tender tops of the feet. Crucifixion was a slow death, usually taking several days for the condemned person to die. Death by crucifixion was caused by blood loss and the pooling of blood in the lower extremities which causes heart failure and suffocation. The legs were eventually broken to hasten death, but God in his mercy allowed Jesus to die before that was necessary and Jewish tradition did not allow bodies to remain hanging over night. Also it was the Passover preparation day and the importance of the day hastened the removal of Christ's body and the preparation for burial.
The magnitude of the suffering and pain that Christ suffered is little portrayed by my short description of the facts. Jesus bore the scourging, the humiliation, the death on the cross to do his Father's will and become the last and final sin offering for all of mankind.
No rhymes today, this is too important for anything more.

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