There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
Is this the day?
Everything had pointed to this day. From his birth as the new born savior to his ministry to serve the least among us; from his baptism at the River Jordan to his great sermons; from the miracles he had performed to all the people he had saved; all was prelude to this moment in time. Is this the day when his divine mission would be fulfilled?
And with everything he had done for the people, what would they say about him now as they crowded around him?
“Crucify him!” shouted the crowd.
After being seized by the vindictive rulers, battered by their minions, tried unjustly by the authorities, scourged ruthlessly in the public hall, dragged mercilessly through the streets, Jesus would be killed.
They laid down the cross and placed Jesus on it. They nailed him to the wooden beam. Then they raised the cross atop the hill overlooking the town. The crowd beholds Jesus as he is crucified on the cross.
Raised above the earth with his flesh ripped apart and blood flowing from his veins, Jesus lifts his eyes skyward and calls out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
Is this the plea of a man doubting the faith or rather the last prayer of the Son of God at the culmination of his sacred journey?
Jesus was well versed in the Scriptures. He quoted them often and even stood among the elders at the Temple to declare his coming as the fulfillment of the Scriptures. In Scripture, what we now call the Old Testament, this is the beginning of Psalm 22:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When Jesus utters these very same words from the cross, he hears the jeers of the people heckling him. Psalm 22 continues:
“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads”
Then Jesus sees his grieving mother among those mourning. Psalm 22 goes on:
“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
The mercenaries and centurions continue to taunt and abuse him. They probe him with their swords, torment him with a sponge of vinegar, and tear off his clothes to keep as a relic of their persecution just as stated in Psalm 22:
“A company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
His breathing slows, the light fades, darkness approaches. The Psalm continues:
“But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword.”
He has now been suffering on the cross for hours. His time has come. Psalm 22 concludes:
“It shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”
And Jesus gasps one last breath:
“It is finished.” (John 19:30)
Finished. The human life of Jesus ends. Only one question remains:
Is this the day?
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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