Summary: A Lenten message of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ
Luke 23: 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. and 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
I was there
Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. – Jesus Christ our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer came to this world to die for our sins. He accepted His mission from God to rescue us from the clutches of the evil one. Our sins had us so bound that we could not get free –oh wait, let me stop talking about you and let me talk about me. As I read the biblical account of the arrest, trial and death of Jesus Christ, I realize I was there.
Oh so often we hear of the crucifixion of Jesus and we weep at the reality of the brutality which He endured just for us. In a song made popular by Donnie McClurkin, we hear these words: “What does the cross of Jesus mean? It’s more than words we sing! It’s so much more than the emblem on a chain. But it means I’m free from the chains of slavery and the blood He shed won’t let my sins remain.” Jesus endure the cruelest of brutalities for the sake of one so wretched, so vile, so base, so unworthy, for me He died that I may live and I was there.
We know the last days of the life of Jesus was no surprise to Him, for He had foretold His eventual end and the reality for this purpose in coming to the world. I didn’t fully grasp how tight a hold sin had on my life, and if I were truly honest, I still do not fully comprehend it today. What I do I know is that I was sin stained – not sin tainted – I was stained by sin and yet my Lord came to this earth from His home in glory to save me from myself and I was there.
It’s Thursday night, Jesus has finished eating with His disciples, He shares a last communion meal with them and proclaims one of them would betray Him, each of them asks “Lord is it I?”, I was there, I know the answer.
He leaves and goes to the olive groves and the garden of Gethsemane, and asks Peter, James and John to watch and pray with Him, to pray for Him, they could not and when Christ returns to find them sleep, He asks “Could you not pray one hour?”, I was there, I know the answer.
He goes and prays even the more, He asks His Father, “If it’s possible to let this cup pass from me”, I was there, I know the answer.
He returns, finding His disciples sleeping again, He tells them to get up, for His betrayer is coming. Judas comes leading the mob, kisses the Savior on the cheek, Jesus asks “Would you betray a friend with a kiss?” I was there, I know the answer.
They take Jesus by force, the beat Him in the face, they spit on Him, they pull His beard, they level false accusations against Him and ask Him mockingly “Tell me prophet who hit you?”, I was there, I know the answer.
They dragged Him from hall to judgment hall – six mock and false trials in all – three before Jewish religious leaders and three before Roman civil leaders – in His final trial before Pilate, - the Roman governor asks Jesus are you the King of the Jews? I was there, I know the answer.
Pilate can find no wrong in Him, and yet He asks the blood thirsty crowd, what evil has this man done? I was there, I know the answer.
They took Jesus, they brutally whipped Him, they made Him carry the cross, His cross through the streets to a place called Golgotha. They pressed a crown of thorns on to His head, they stripped Him of His clothes, they nailed Him to the cross and they hung Him high for all of those who passed by to mock Him and scorn Him, yet He never said a word, Why? I was there, I know the answer.
His first words from the cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Two thieves were nailed beside Him to share the agony, and one of them cried out to Him – O Lord will You remember me? I was there, I know the answer.
He hung there, between time and eternity, paying the ultimate price for the ultimate rebellion, enduring the cross, despising the shame, for the joy that was set before Him, why? I was there, I know the answer.