It is now about 6:30 a.m. on Good Friday. The six trials of Jesus are coming to an end. Soon he will be scourged, beaten, bloodied, and crowned with a wreath of thorns. Slowly he will lead the procession through the narrow streets of Jerusalem. When he falls under the load, Simon of Cyrene will be summoned from the crowd to carry the cross. Soon they will come to Skull Hill and the Roman guards will begin their work. At 9 a.m. the Son of God will be crucified.
And so Jesus was led as a lamb to the slaughter. He did not resist, he did fight back, and he did not call legions of angels to come to his aid. And the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. Burdened with the sins of the world, Jesus would not be released from his suffering until he had accomplished the Father’s will through his bloody death on the cross.
The acts of sinful men and cowardly rulers sink into the darkened background. Around the cross shines a holy light from heaven. Jesus is here because he obeyed his Father’s will. Nothing happens by accident, every detail fits into God’s predetermined plan. Ten thousand times ten thousand praises shall ever rise to thee, Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
The words of an ancient hymn attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th century keep ringing in my mind:
What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend,
For this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee.