Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday and Sad Saturday

Just imagine you could have been in Jerusalem on that Friday and Saturday so long ago - over two thousand years ago now. Think about taking the walk from the city, out one of the city gates, down the winding road to the valley and then up the side of the Mount of Olives. You can take the same walk today.

When you see pictures of the scene on that long ago Friday, it is usually pictured on a hillside. Having been to Golgotha - where Scripture says the crucifixions took place - I don't think it was on a hillside. You can go to Golgotha, otherwise described as the "place of the skull." In the rock beside the well-worn path, there are indentations that make the rock look very much like a skull. However, it would be very difficult to sink a cross into rock.

The path is the same one used by travelers and merchant caravans headed west to Jerusalem for thousands of years. Beside that path is a very public, visible place. It would make sense that the Roman conqueror/occupiers would place their crosses with the victims nailed there dying their agonizing, very slow death right beside the path where the blood, gore and agony would be up-close and personal for all who passed by.

Today that rocky slope with its skull-like indentations is still beside the path and also across from a busy bus station. It is still a place "up-close" and personal - an "in your face" kind of place - for travelers (and tourist pilgrims).

Think about being one of those first "Christ-followers" who watched in horror the events of that first "Good Friday." Think about waking up on Saturday (or perhaps never being able to fall asleep with the horrible images that would refuse to go away in the terror of that sad night).

Think how much better it is for us! We now know the "rest of the story." We know that Friday happened. We know that Saturday was awful and sad, but we also know that Sunday came and so did the resurrection of the Savior of the world. He literally swallowed death! (Is. 25:8 and 1 Cor. 15:54)

What a day! So much to think about! What a day - the day that the God (Jesus) Who literally put on our skin, moved into our neighborhood and then took our place on a Roman cross died! Jesus became the willing sacrifice for the sins of the world! ONLY He could take that place! He was the ONLY One Who could "unlock the gate of heaven and let us in" !

Hallelujah! What a Savior! Think of it - living on this side of the resurrection and knowing the "rest of the story" should make ALL the difference in how we live and love. It should literally restore our hearts and lives! Knowing the resurrection and loving Jesus calls us to plant our feet right where people need Jesus and literally be the hands and feet of Jesus to them! Think about it!

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