Death of an innocent
After a night in a filthy dungeon the prisoner was led away to the governor for sentence. Tired and exhausted the prisoner was made to stand as he was questioned. The judge despite recognising his innocence, nevertheless released a well known terrorist in order to please the mob, who demanded the detainee’s execution.
The victim was taken, tied to a post with his wrists high over his head. A leather whip lacerated the taut skin on his back, till the flesh was torn and bones and organs were exposed. The ‘convict’ was then stripped, clothed in kingly robes, crowned with twisted thorns wedged onto His head and mocked.
Then he was led away carrying a rugged Roman cross. Weakened after the beating and stumbling under the sheer weight, no one offered to help him. Not one blind person whom he had healed, not one cured leper, not a lame person who had been given strength to walk, helped. Not even someone from the miraculously fed crowds came forward.
A foreigner was eventually compelled to take the beams as the prisoner was led to the ‘Place of the Skull’. There, soldiers hammered thick nails into his hands and his feet and the cross was lifted, suspending him between heaven and earth, with a cursing criminal on each side.
Jesus was crucified.
His only covering was blood, spittle and dust. Even the religious and political leaders howled abuse at him. Outstretched and in excruciating pain, God laid the sin of the world on Jesus. The ugliness of the scene could not portray what Jesus, the perfect Son of God, endured as he paid the punishment for the wrongdoing of men and women.
There is a sense in which each one of us was there when they crucified Jesus, because it was our sin that Christ was bearing in his own body on that tree. Jesus prayed for forgiveness for the soldiers, and promised paradise to the repentant thief crucified next to him. Then, having finished the work of carrying and paying for sin, he committed his spirit to his Father as he died.
The body of Jesus had been taken down from the cross the evening before. It had been wrapped in clean, linen cloth and was laid in a new tomb hewn out of rock. A stone sealed the entrance, and a guard of soldiers made sure his body could not be stolen. Jesus’ body lay cold and still in the grave.
Jesus’ disciples were distraught. They had been with Christ for three years and had seen an absolutely perfect life. He never apologised, or needed to. He was God manifest in the flesh. The disciples still had not grasped God’s master plan to bring men and women to know him.
All our wrong, which God calls sin, has cut us off from him. This can only lead us to hell. But God sent Christ to be the Saviour of the world. Jesus loved us so much that He went through the agonising suffering of the cross, making a way to bring people back to himself.
This was to become Easter Sunday. Early in the morning two women went to the tomb. They were presented with the astounding news that Jesus was not there, Jesus had done what no ordinary human being could do: Jesus had risen from the dead. God was showing that he had accepted Jesus as the substitute and sacrifice for sin, and could give forgiveness and new life to all who would turn from their sin and trust him.
Over the next weeks, Jesus was to show himself risen and alive to many different types of people in various settings. Over 500 people saw Jesus alive after his death.
Christ is in his honoured place in heaven. Anybody who in their heart will come to him, to receive pardon for the past and new life for the future will find him to be a Friend who never leaves or forsakes them.
He died for you and will receive you as his own if you will trust him now. You can know God in life, through death and for eternity if you will repent and by faith believe the good news. Ask him now to become your Lord and Saviour forever.
Roger Carswell is a member of the Association of Evangelists. This article is available to buy as a tract from Roger at a discounted price (firstname.lastname@example.org).