Friday, March 29, 2013

Lent Day 43 (Friday)

Exercise: Cycling 25 miles.  Since I missed the ride yesterday, I really felt I needed to get out and ride today, just to keep limber before the big ride tomorrow morning.  I didn't do anything crazy, although I was sorely tempted to do Paris Mountain this evening.  I'll have my fill of climbing by dinnertime tomorrow, I'm sure.


Luke 23:44-49
New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Jesus
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.”[a] 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.

Thoughts: Seldom do I think about just how sorrowful of a day Good Friday really represents.  When you put all of the information together on what transpired, it makes it a humbling experience.  When you realize that the Last Supper ended well after dark (and thus the events in the Garden happened on Friday), it makes it even more tragic.  In the course of a day, Jesus was interrogated multiple times, put on display in front of a mass of people, given a death sentence, scourged, striped naked, and hung out to die on a cross.  

The part that we seem to like to gloss over is what would have happened in the scourging.  We hear the words, but we really don't think about how heinous the act really was.  A quick definition of scourging
A scourge (from Latin: excoriare, "to flay", and corium, "skin") is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type, used to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back.  (source - Wikipedia)
The fact that the word itself depicts it as a flaying of the skin is gruesome enough to think about.  Now think that after he was scourged he was nailed to a cross.  The raw flesh (what was left of it) would have been up against the rough wood.  The pain had to be immense.  This was not a standard set of punishments in Roman culture, I have to imagine that even a society that came up with the holiday of Saturnalia would have thought this to be extremely cruel.  

When you really stop to think about the suffering and torture that Jesus was put through on this day almost 2,000 years ago, just to be able to take the sting from Death and free a people that had and will continue to reject him until we are fully cleansed, it's astonishing.  To die for a friend (or a loved one) is honorable.  To die for your country is duty.  To die for a stranger is noble.  When I think of this level of death, I think about it in the sense of war.  Covering an explosive;  Stepping in front of a shooter.  There are a number of ways to receive a mortal wound.  I cannot fathom willingly having the flesh torn from my body and then being hung on a cross for another.  I have to believe that the disciples and other followers that stood at a distance couldn't believe what was being done, either.  The feeling of complete hopelessness.  The fear that had to hang in the air.  The sense of complete loss.  The worry that they would be next. 

It was Friday.  The sky was black, the sun didn't shine.  

It was Friday.  All was lost.

How could Sunday hold any hope?

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