Summary: Most of us are familiar with the facts of the crucifixion. We know that Jesus was hung on a cross and left to die and that after His death He was buried in a tomb. We can list the facts but the bigger question remains: When all is said and done, what d
When All Is Said and Done - Good Friday Joint Service - April 22, 2011
During more than 70 years in radio broadcasting, the name, Paul Harvey, has become synonymous with excellence. His distinctive voice, his unusual intonation, allowed him to become one of the best known voices in the business. His, truly became, a household name, and millions of North Americans, including, I would imagine, many of us here this morning, would acknowledge that over the years we have tuned in and listened to Paul Harvey more than once, haven’t we? My favourite part of his broadcasts always centered around the stories he told. I enjoy stories and I enjoyed the way he told them as only he could. Several times a week you could turn on the radio and listen in as he brought a new story to life. And he always paused part way through, didn’t he, and left you hanging for a bit. When he got back to it, and wrapped it up, he always concluded with those familiar words, “… and now you know, the rest of the story.”
And it’s true. You do! You woke up this morning, and you knew the rest of the story. You knew how it all ended, how it all worked out. It’s the greatest of all stories and it’s one that some would say began nearly 2000 years ago as a Jewish rabbi rode into the Holy city of Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. The crowds that followed Him that day knew – or at least thought they knew – what was happening. The prophecy that had been spoken by Zechariah, Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, Zechariah 9:9 was being fulfilled before their eyes! And they went wild and shouted praises to God! Deliverance was at hand! Redemption was near.
Can you imagine what that must have been like to have been there that day? To have thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people, celebrating in the streets and praising God? To see, with your own eyes, as the Word of God unfolded before you? It must have been extraordinary! But it wasn’t long until the cheering, turned to jeering. It wasn’t long before the laughter, turned to scorn, and the joy, to bitterness. It wasn’t long before that rabbi, who had been welcomed as a king, was put on trial, as a criminal. It wasn’t long until the crowds called out, “Crucify! Crucify!”
You know the rest of the story … but the disciples didn’t. Not yet at any rate. For three years they had walked with Jesus, they had learned at His feet, they had cast out demons and had worked miracles in His name. And now it had all come down to this – an unruly mob shouting, “Crucify! Crucify!” It must have been heart wrenching - utterly devastating – everything they had hoped for and worked towards – was falling apart and they were powerless to do anything about it. It must have been terrifying. Some of them went into hiding, made themselves scarce. At least one denied knowing the rabbi they called Jesus - though the shame in his heart told a different story.
And it must have been nerve wracking as they waited to see what would happen. Would Pilate let Jesus go? Would the crowds get their way? Would God intervene in some miraculous manner and rescue His Son? Would the hosts of heaven descend and overthrow the Roman oppressors? The truth is that Jesus had spoken of His coming death but they had chosen not to hear, not to believe. Now that it was at hand they didn’t know what to think; they didn’t know what was to come. But we know what happened, don’t we? Yet let me read it for you again so that it is fresh in our minds on this particular day. I’ll continue reading in John 19 and I’ll pick right up where Stephen left off in verse 17. You may follow along if you like or simply listen to the rest of the story unfold. John 19, verse 17 … Pilate has handed Jesus over to the soldiers and the soldiers have taken charge of Jesus as He makes His way to the place of death. And we’re told that …
Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” John 19:17-22