Indelibly Marked


Hearing the story of Jesus’ life and death, we also have no choice but to be drawn into the events. It is very difficult to be ambivalent about Jesus as we learn who he was and what he did and how those around him were indelibly marked by his life and death…

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Luke 23:44-56

No one and nothing around Jesus on the day of his death was unaffected by his crucifixion. He called out to the Father to receive him as he died, and then he breathed his last.

The Earth: We can read in the gospels and in the prophets and psalms how the earth is the Lord’s. The rocks will cry out. Creation worships God. The skies speak of the glory of the Lord. And so as we see the sun stop shining over the time of Jesus’ death, the earth mourns his death. Darkness came over the land.

The Father: The glory of God the Father had dwelt in the temple, behind the curtain in the place called the Holy of Holies. It appears his glory left the temple in Ezekiel 10, yet in the moment when Jesus died, the curtain tore in two from top to bottom, exposing the most holy place, and underscoring that access to the Father is now through the one and only son, Jesus.

The Centurion: This Roman soldier represents the ruling group in the land. Even their own could see something different about Jesus. He was not simply a peasant traveller speaking on soap boxes on street corners. Jesus was a righteous man.

The People: Some would have been there five days previous when we came into Jerusalem to the shouts of “Hosanna!” Many of these people had yelled, “Crucify him!” just a few hours before.  They were played by ruling council to be the angry mob that convinced Pilate to condemn an innocent man to death.

The Disciples: They stayed at a distance, watching. Would they be next? How could this be? Their teacher was gone and they didn’t understand. His words were ringing in their heads, yet they still couldn’t put together the pieces of how and why this was happening.

Joseph, Member of the Council: Joseph was one of very few religious leaders of his day who opposed Jesus’ condemnation and who personally dealt with his burial, along with Nicodemus. They placed him in a tomb, wrapped in cloth. Even some of those in prestigious positions in authority worshipped him.

Pilate: He gave his consent to remove Jesus’ body, a punctuation mark to him. The one who dismissed truth and catered to the mob mentality of the crowd washed his hands of the whole affair.

The Women: Some of Jesus’ closest followers were Mary, Mary, Joanna, and Salome. They prepared spices and perfumes to honour Jesus in his burial. They waited to attend to him on Sunday morning because the Sabbath rules required them to rest on Saturday. They would be in for a surprise on that third day…

Hearing the story of Jesus’ life and death, we also have no choice but to be drawn into the events. It is very difficult to be ambivalent about Jesus as we learn who he was and what he did and how those around him were indelibly marked by his life and death…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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