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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Day 315: The death of Jesus

The darkest day the world has ever seen.  
Jesus’ walk to Golgotha
Matthew 27:32-34, Mark 15:20-23, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17
Jesus is crucified
Matthew 27:35-44, Mark 15:24-32, Luke 23:33-43, John 19:18-27
Three hours of darkness
Matthew 27:45-49, Mark 15:33-36, Luke 23:44-45, John 19:28-29
The death of Jesus 29AD
The death of Jesus
Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:30
His side is pierced
John 19:31-37
Miraculous events at Jesus’ death
Matthew 27:51-56, Mark 15:38-41, Luke 23:47-49

The feeling is above all of incredulity. How could it be that this person, who was so alive, so unique, so in control of his destiny and so powerful (if we accept that he came from God), how could this person be dying. How can he be walking, stumbling, carrying his cross, blessing, crying, screaming in agony and slowly drowning as his lungs fill with fluid and he can no longer draw breath?
The disciples I’m sure could not believe it. Even his enemies couldn’t quite believe it. They taunted him, telling him to come down from the cross, then as he entered his death throes, held their breath and waited to see if it would happen. They almost did believe in him, a little.
The hard-bitten centurion uttered words of awe - “Surely he was the Son of God!” This isn’t necessarily an expression of faith in a Jewish messiah, it’s what a Roman would say if he thought he was in the presence of a divinity. But he was impressed.
The darkness that the gospel writers spoke about would have intensified the mood. I remember a solar eclipse when the birds went to sleep, thinking it was night time, and an eerie quiet descended as the light levels dropped.
This is a story told in loving detail, in quadruplicate. It’s quite harrowing reading it four times over, even though I know every detail.
I’m trying not to read this in, because I want the words to come to me fresh, but there is a sense of intention about this. This doesn’t feel like a tragic accident or a mistake, God and Jesus feel to me to be working together on an aweful purpose.

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