The second of our Easter reflections considering the death of Christ on the cross.
The biblical account of Gethsemane closes with Jesus betrayed by the kiss of a friend into the hands of those who always opposed him. Was there ever a kiss so cruel and so loaded with intent? He is taken away to be tried by his accusers on trumped up and hollow charges, accusers who were not interested in justice only in outcome – an outcome that they had already determined.
Over the course of the next hours, Jesus is subjected to a number of trials before different authorities. He is mocked, He is brutalised by whipping until the flesh is hanging off His back but perhaps the most bitter moment came when He heard the comment – “I never knew the man.” Peter, the rock, the stalwart who would not give acknowledgement of the one who was about to give his life for him.
The verdict was guilty as charged. The sentence was crucifixion, the most cruel Roman punishment reserved for the worst of criminals but now to be meted out to the innocent. The son of God. Unjust? Yes, but it had to be.
Jesus, stripped down, is led away to the place of execution and made to carry his own cross, on a back broken by whipping. The sight of the crosses looming on the top of Golgotha was a stark reminder of the price He was going to have to pay to turn aside the wrath of God and atone for sin – not His own, but yours and mine.
The nails are driven into His hands and feet. The cross is lifted up and Jesus hangs between heaven and earth in agony. He is truly alone!
Darkness falls in and covers the scene in a thick blanket. Out of the darkness comes a piercing cry that had never been heard before nor will ever be again, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus dies, and sin is dealt with – once and for all time! He is totally alone!
This is the story the Bible calls, Good News, and it is the story that we seek to help our partners all over Asia to share with their own communities, sometimes at great personal cost.
Around 2.75 billion people in Asia have never heard the name of the one who gave himself to the cross that they might know forgiveness. 2.75 billion people who have never heard of the God who loves them and gave His only begotten son to suffer the agony of a cross in order that they might know forgiveness of sin and peace with God.
Could you partner with us in this sacred task? Could you give of your time to pray or to go into Asia on one of our teams, or even give of your money to help get this Good News all around Asia?
And, one more question, with whom are you sharing this Good News?
This Easter, you could help provide a motorbike to an evangelist with the ‘On Your Bike!’ appeal. Click below to find out more.