My Family

My Family

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Week

Sorry this installment is a little late in the day...

Friday, The Darkest Day

Friday: Through the night, since Christ's arrest at the garden, he has been accused. He will be taken before, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilot, Herod and back to Pilot. All of this before the morning. At morning, the final verdict is reached.

As mentioned, he was first taken to Annas, who is Caiaphas' father in law. Annas once held the chief seat of the Sanhedrin, twenty years ago, but still held influence. Corruption in high places has always occurred. Past leaders continue to carry influence. He was then taken to Caiaphas for more accusations. These are Jews heading the Jewish government, with Roman approval. They can carry out punishments but not executions, only the Romans can carry out a death sentence. The Jews are convicting Christ of blasphemy; the crime of claiming to be a god. The problem is, blasphemy is not a crime to the Romans. But, back to blasphemy.

The chief priest asks one of the most amazing questions in history of Christ. "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God." Asking Jehovah, in the name of Jehovah if he is Jehovah. How should he answer this question? He answers it correctly with, "Thou hast said". Which means, what you are saying is true.....yes I am. I am THE Christ. I am the God of the Old Testament, that your forefathers spoke of and pleaded for, for thousands of years. I am here, right in front of you. I am God. I am the Son of God. I am Jehovah. I am the Christ.

At this answer, the chief accuser tears his own cloak in a vain attempt to show indignation, and then pronounces him guilty of blasphemy. He should be put to death under their Jewish law, he declares. The irony here is that the only being to ever walk this earth, who could not be guilty of blasphemy, has just been convicted of it. Even convicted by his own words, because he IS declaring that he IS God.

They know they can't take him to the Romans to approve a death sentence for blasphemy. So when they go before Pilot, a Roman governor of Jerusalem's region, they change the charge. They claim that he is a guilty of insurrection and treason against the Romans. Now that will get you put to death by the Romans. They will kill you for that. Pilot sees nothing in him as a threat to Rome. However, he realizes an opening to rid himself of this problem. He learns that Christ is from Galilee, a region a 100 miles north of Jerusalem, and in another Roman leader's region. It just so happens that the corrupt Jew, Herod, is just that man who has Roman authority to rule over Galilee. The Roman placed him as governor of that northern region. He is in Jerusalem during Passover, because he is Jewish and likes to pretend. However, as Caesar (the real one) said of him, "It is better to be Herod's pig, than his son". Herod feigned his Jewishness by not eating pork, but had no problems executing some of his owns sons and wives. It really was safer to be his pig, than to be his son.

When Christ was sent before Herod, Herod asked some questions, but Christ would not answer him. Christ once referred to Herod in a disparaging way as a "fox". This is the same Herod who had John the Baptist, beheaded. He is son to the Herod who killed the young children and babies at the birth of Christ, 30 years earlier.

Herod sent him back to Pilot. Pilot asked him, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" He answers, "Thou sayest it".....Yes I am the King of the Jews.

Pilot had the Messiah scourged. Scourging is whipping across the naked back with a multi-lash whip that has nails, sharpened stones, and glass embedded in it. He was whipped with 39 strokes. In addition to the thorned crown embedded into his skull by the soldiers, he is suffering greatly.

Pilot attempted to release him because he saw nothing worthy of death in him. Also, Pilot's wife warned that she had a dream that Pilot should not do any harm to him. At Passover, they would release a prisoner on death row----symbolic of atonement. At this time, Pilot asked the crowd if they would prefer Jesus over Barabbas. Whom shall I release? Barabbas who actually was guilty of insurrection against Rome or Christ, whom ye call the King of the Jews? "Whom shall I release unto you. Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" They call for Barabbas. What shall I do with Jesus? Crucify him! Crucify him!

Pilot literally washes his hands in water, signifying his disagreement and desire not to be associated with what is about to happen. Don't we all wash our hands at a time, when we should have courage? He then sends Christ to be crucified.

Pilot has a plaque put on the cross, over his head, which reads, "The King of the Jews".

At 9:00 AM ("the third hour"), he is nailed with spikes to a wooden beam. The large spikes are driven through his hands, his wrists and his feet. The cross may have been the traditional shape, or it may have been an "X" shape. The Romans had no particular pattern they used.

12:00 ("the sixth hour"): All of the apparent agonies experienced the night before in Gethsemane seemed to return. The cross was only a physical suffering, now the deep soulful suffering is returning . "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It seems that part of the great Atonement being wrought by Christ, at this darkest hour, was to have God the Father withdraw from him. Christ experienced even this degree of loneliness, perhaps part of experiencing the agony of all forms of suffering. He is left completely alone through these darkest hours. Accompanying this was darkness in the sky, thunderings, earthquakes. The God of Nature was suffering. This lasts until 3:00 PM.

"I thirst". After suffering for hours, he pleads for a drink. They taunt him with a sponge of vinegar.

"Forgive them, for they know not what they do". The Roman soldiers were carrying out orders. Perhaps others are targets of his mercy as well.

"Behold the mother". A plea to John to care for his apparently aged and widowed mother. Concerned about others, at a time like this?

3:00 PM ('the ninth hour") "It is finished" and he voluntarily gave up the Ghost. He completed the agonizing work of the atonement. It was apparent that he had complete control over his life and his death----which he did. To have only lived for 6 hours on the Cross was unusual. The cruelty of the cross was the lingering agony of thirst, hunger and suffering. Death was a relief that did not come for days. If they wanted to accelerate the death, they would break the legs of the criminal. The additional shock would then lead to a quicker death. Christ, fulfilling ancient Old Testament scripture, died with no broken bones.

It should be realized, that to be crucified on a cross was not an experience unique to Christ. The Romans carried out this act of barbarism on 1,000's if not 10,000's of men and women. The entire Appien Way to Rome in Italy, was lined with corpses suspended on crosses. They would haul captured leaders of other nations along this road to Rome, so they would be intimidated.

A final sword is driven into his side, to insure his death.

"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" An Aramaic expression uttered by Christ which is "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Next time you hear a character on a TV sitcom or a co-worker utter a portion of the expression as a humorous punch line, think about how this Son of a God intended the expression to be used. Have you ever felt this lonely, that even God disappeared? Haven't we all? Realize, that when it happens to you, that it even happened to the most righteous person to walk the earth. He did no wrong to bring the feeling on, and perhaps you've done nothing wrong either. Perhaps, it's just part of the mortal experience.

A Roman centurion, standing nearby added a sealing testimony to what he had just witnessed, "Surely this was the Son of God".


Tomorrow is my church's semi-annual conference (The LDS church - Mormons). I'll be listening to the voices of our leaders, including God's living prophet, for 4 hours. I can't wait. And then on Sunday, we'll be lucky enough to listen to 4 more hours of talks. I really love Conference. Tomorrow night, all of my sons and my husband will be attending the session of Conference called the "Priesthood" session. This is such a special time for them to be together as priesthood holders. This will be the last time all 5 of them are together for Priesthood session for awhile, because Michael will be leaving on his mission before the end of summer. Oh, I just remembered - my youngest, Matthew, will be traveling with his Priesthood quorum to Salt Lake City to attend the session in person at the Conference Center. How exciting for him. Have a great day tomorrow.

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