Mark 15: 16-41
Today we discover how far people can journey from God. On this most horrid day of history the worst humanity can offer was experienced. Led through the streets his burden ever heavier, the cries of derision ever louder, but yet the faithful Son onwards he goes. Taken and delivered to the place of the skull, nails pounding through his flesh, lifted high upon a cross, a spectacle for all the world to view. In and through all of this suffering he cries ‘Father forgive’. Innocence and sin mixed with death and compassion. Love and hate mixed with justice and peace. Oh for the strength to walk with our Lord and Saviour.
Jesus is handed over to the soldiers, Pilate’s bodyguards. The dreadful routine of crucifixion had now begun. Question if they even they knew anything of the one that they mock. To them this was simply a deluded Galilean going to a cross. Then they prepared him to go out to crucifixion.
Jesus has been stripped, his hands tied behind his back and with his back bent double he is tied to a post. The lash, a long leather thong, studded with sharpened pieces of bone and pellets of lead. This scourging reduced the naked body to strips of raw flesh, inflamed and bleeding sores. Men died under it, men lost their reason under it, few remained conscious to the end of it. They take him to the barracks for more mockery.
Crucifixion is the most terrible and cruel death which man has ever devised for taking vengeance on his fellow-men. This was a punishment so awful that the Romans forbid it
be the fate of any Roman citizen. It is not a pretty picture but this is what Jesus Christ suffered willingly for us. The procession toward the place of crucifixion was part of the torture. The route would be as long as possible so as to allow many people to see it and take a warning from it.
Jesus had been scourged, mocked and been kept awake all night.
He was physically exhausted, staggering under the cross as he reached the place of execution, Golgotha. The drink offered was an act of mercy it would have been drugged so as to numb the pain.
Then we hear the mocking and the taunting of the crowd.
They are centred around Jesus and his apparent helplessness upon the cross. ‘Come down and we will believe you’ they shout.
Today, Friday, his enemies gloated as they wrongly believed they had ended it all.
He said nothing as the insults flew his way.
He said nothing as the bruises covered his battered body.
He said nothing as the welts and sores burst out across his skin.
He let them do their worst until their worst was done.
He let them do all of this to him, the innocent one, the one who had done no wrong.
The one whom the religious and political courts could find no charge to be answered.
He let them do all of this and then he cried out, ‘Father, forgive them…’