After I woke up in the garden everything happened so fast it nearly made my head swim. The light from torches bobbed up the hill. Men’s angry voices broke the night’s silence. Judas approached, followed by a crowd of armed men. Judas kissed Jesus, and immediately the mob seized him. Drawn swords glinted in the moonlight. It all happened so fast, and, I’m ashamed to admit, I was so frightened I fled. Through the olive grove, down the hillside and into the crowded city, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me.
I ran into my house and bolted the door, shaking in the darkened room. At any moment I expected a heavy pounding on the door. I was sure Roman soldiers or an angry mob would come to arrest me. The next night some of the others came in the dark. They all had heard rumors of what had happened to Jesus. All we knew for sure was that he’d been arrested.
How could this be happening? I wondered. I was so sure Jesus was our promised Messiah. Surely there had been a mistake. I wept. I prayed. I was afraid to go out on the streets for fear I’d be arrested too. After one of the women came with news that Jesus had been sentenced to death, I conquered my fear and decided I’d have to see for myself.
I donned a cloak with a hood pulled low over my forehead and ventured out to the crowded city streets. Before long I heard loud voices and saw a crowd along the road. Elbowing my way toward the front, I was finally able to see who was on the road ahead. What I saw appalled me. A troop of Roman soldiers escorted three prisoners, each carrying a cross to his own execution.
I hardly recognized Him at first. A crown of thorns encircled his head, and blood dripped down his face. His knees buckled as He struggled to carry the heavy wooden cross. His face was contorted with pain. As He stumbled with His burden, soldiers and people in the crowd spit on Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews.” Others, some of whom I recognized, wept quietly.
As He staggered past, I gasped when I saw His torn back. The Roman whip had ripped the flesh from His back, leaving nothing but raw flesh. I’m not ashamed to admit that tears filled my eyes. It hurt so to see my friend suffer. I pushed away from the crowd in a daze, not knowing what the future might hold. All I knew for sure was that Jesus was headed for the hill of Golgotha and execution. I feared the same for myself.
Matthew 27: 28-30 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
Food for thought: Are you able to trust in Jesus even when times are difficult? When circumstances seem insurmountable? Can you accept how Jesus suffered for your sins?