Journey to the Cross
By: Mickey Rapier | April 19
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[a] Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Jesus had found quiet in the Garden of Gethsemane only a few hours before the trials began. But from the moment He was arrested, the noise rose to a fevered pitch. Those who were responsible for His arrest would not sit still or close their mouths until He collapsed and gasped for His final breath. As Jesus now stood before Pilate, He was alone, or maybe a more fitting word is deserted, awaiting the ultimate sentence of death. Everyone had scattered, just as He said they would.
I remember the first time I ever felt alone. I was in the second grade and was sitting in the principal’s office, the result of a “minor skirmish” on the playground. The seconds ticked away like hours as I sat the well-worn, wooden chair (Old Sparky) in the principal’s office, awaiting my fate. You’ve had similar moments, too. Perhaps you were waiting in a doctor’s office for the dreaded test results. Or maybe you were waiting for news of a loved one that could be good, or tragic. I’m sure you can relate in some small way to that sense of utter isolation that Jesus must have felt. He knew the agony and suffering that lay before Him.
Pilate, a ruthless Roman with a reputation for cruelty, seemed hesitant to crucify Jesus. Perhaps the warnings of his wife gave him pause, but it seems he tried to release Jesus over and over. Seven times he proclaimed Jesus’ innocence, but the Jewish leaders would not hear of it. “CRUCIFY HIM!” became their reply to anything Pilate attempted to say, and they persuaded the crowds to join in their demonstration.
Sensing a growing rebellion, Pilate satisfied their thirst for blood by flogging Jesus and, ultimately, released Him to be crucified. The flogging alone could have killed Him. The journey down the way of suffering, carrying His cross, was more than His famished, sleepless, dehydrated body could bear. A stranger was compelled to help Him, yet He was alone in His suffering, deserted by those to whom He had given life. And now, even the shadow of His Father’s face would begin to turn away as He bore the sin of all mankind.
And so, wherever you are right now on this Good Friday, be grateful. As a believer in Jesus, the peace transcending all understanding that indwells your heart is borne of His suffering and sacrifice. The calmness of spirit, whatever your circumstance, isn’t possible but for the hope of eternal life extended to you. In the quietness of your soul, worship Him with your whole heart.
“He was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NIV