Today is Friday.  Jesus has endured a night of false accusations, a mock trail, a beating at the hands of the temple guard, and lastly issued a conviction of blasphemy and a sentence of death.

Early in the morning, right at sunrise, he is brought before Pilate.  Pilate wants nothing to do with Jesus so he sends him to King Herod, the same King Herod who beheaded John the Baptist.  Herod allows his solders to taunt and ridicule Jesus, but finds no reason to condemn him to die.  Sent once again to Pilate, Jesus is exhausted. He has slept none and endured hours of beatings and questionings.  Now, his fate lies in the hands of Rome.  

Pilate hopes to pacify the Jewish authorities by having Jesus scourged and released.  It is customary for a Roman prefect to release a prisoner a the time of Passover.  He will let the crowd decide….Jesus, the King, or Barabbas the murderer.  What Pilate does not know is that he is addressing a group ordered by the high priests to make sure Jesus is executed.  It is not the Jewish pilgrims who want Jesus dead, nor most of the residents of Jerusalem, but a small group of men who make their living off the Temple itself. 

It is around 9:00am when Pilate calls for a bowl of water to be brought and washes his hands in it.  He then orders his executioners to bind Jesus to be crucified.  He will be led to Golgotha, the place of the skull, and killed as a common criminal.  He will live just a short time and say just a few words, the most powerful of which will be “It is Finished!”  All that he endured in the last 24 hours is amazing from a human perspective, but perhaps even astounding is to think of all He endured as the Christ.  The things we could not see as He bore the sins of the world.  

Today, let us remember the extent to which God so greatly loved us.  His love is amazing.  Jesus once said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friend.”  God’s amazing grace is that while we were still sinners and enemies of God, He chose to freely and willingly die for us as a sacrifice for your sins and mine.  What will be your response?  He died for us…will you live for Him?  The Apostle Paul responded to the love of Christ by saying this, “I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.”  Will you choose to die with Christ so that you may truly live?

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