A few years back I took an unbelieving friend with me to see “The Passion of the Christ” and it was like no other film we’d ever been to. It was not your laughing, popcorn eating, sit back & enjoy type of movie. I will never forget exiting the theatre afterwards…………..it was dead silent. The somber look on people’s faces is still etched in my brain. My friend didn’t even want to talk about it with me for weeks. Why is it we can watch people get blown up and splattered in films all the time but have this depiction grab us – believer or unbeliever - so deeply? It’s Jesus! He is like no other.
We begin with the unfair trials of Jesus. The “whole assembly” was the Sanhedrin, consisting of probably 70 men. These were the “holy heavies” of the day. They bring Jesus to the governor Pilate accusing Him of “subverting our nation.” It was a deliberate lie to say He apposed paying taxes because they had addressed this before (20:20-25). He was indeed Christ (Messiah) – so guilty as charged. YES “He stirs up the people all over Judea by His teaching” because it made the religious peeps look bad, but NO the sinless Jesus was not guilty of any crime. Pilate knew it (vs 4) but because he was afraid of the people, sent Jesus on to further trial. Jesus became a problem to both Herod & Pilate, ironically uniting them. And eventually, Pilate granted the cries of the crowd to crucify Him.
Being led away to be crucified, Jesus profoundly tells the mourners they should really be more concerned about where they and their offspring are headed when they die than Him! Then as they were crucifying Him, the mercy of God again shows itself in Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And as the guilt-ridden thief on the cross asks Jesus to remember him, Jesus again mercifully tells him that “…today you will be with me in paradise.” Amazing how Jesus is constantly thinking of people to the very end!
The time of His death had come. It was preceded by a sunless darkness and as Jesus committed Himself to His Father, we know from other gospels that there was an earthquake as well. Those there gave praise to God! They realized this was no ordinary man. Some left the scene in anguish, others stood at a distance in shock.
Finally we are told that not all of the Sanhedrin agreed to put Jesus away, at least not this Joseph. He took Jesus down from the cross and properly buried Him in a tomb.
*Just like the reactions of those who saw the Passion movie that day, the crucifixion of Jesus should sober us. The cross is a symbol like no other. Think about it. If someone today were to wear a guillotine or an electric chair around their neck, we’d be a bit freaked out & wonder if they might be the next school gunmen or terrorists. But to wear a cross is ok? Again, it’s symbol is Jesus. This unique death & event is the ONLY way by which we can be made right with God. Have you ever put your faith & trust in Jesus ALONE for the forgiveness of your sins? There’s a big difference between knowing OF Jesus and KNOWING Jesus. He’s still offering you the opportunity today! Romans 10:9-10