“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
- John 19:16-19
In German what we call “Good Friday” is called Karfreitag, which means sorrow or grief. There are no church bells rung and some religious spend the day in a silent fashion. The Savior of the world was murdered on this day for the sins of man. The German tradition of sorrow is to reflect what had to happen on this day. I believe this is the attitude of our hearts should be in on this day.
Many of us have become desensitized to violence and do not understand the weight of crucifixion. If we understood the evil, pain, and torment of the cross we might tear up when we see one instead of only using it as a fashion accessory.
Thousands upon thousands of people died by crucifixion under the hand of the Romans and the experience the soldiers had lead to a certain craft that these executioners possessed and took pride in. The Roman soldiers that were over the crucifixion were specialists of pain. Crucifixion was an art and if done correctly you would have a splendid tapestry of pain to entertain yourself with.
The flogging, mocking, and nailing were all part of the process to destroy every part of the human being. The worst was how the crucifixion affected ones ability to breathe. Stephen Mansfield draws the horror out for us:
“There is silence, broken only by the sounds of the “dance of death.” For long periods, Yeshua’s (Jesus) chin rests on his chest. His arms tremble involuntarily. He shakes like a man freezing to death and yet this shaking comes from within – from lack of air, the trauma of the scourging, and the crushing strain in his limbs. Just when onlookers might think he is dead, he jerks harshly from a shock of pain. Realizing that he is suffocating, he pushes upward in near panic until he can exhale and breathe again. The agony of it all registers on his face, and in the blood falling in great drops to the ground and in the flesh torn from his back by the rough crossbeam each time he moves.”
Each rip of the whip;
Each bloody breath;
Each push upon the nail for oxygen;
Each swing of the hammer cried out as a testimony to the horror of sin and the extent that God would go to love unlovable people.
This was, and is, the price for your sin and my sin. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Colossians: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
In view of the cross there is victory over the power of sin but let us not forget that the sins that we commit pinned the Savior of the world to a tree. Let us be sorrowful for our wrongs that lead to such a merciless and torturous occasion. Maybe today we should have a type of reverent sorrow for what our sins did to the Lamb of God.
Talk about it
Why is this a day for sorrow?
Reflect on your own sins. Do we really treat our sins as the cost for killing Jesus? Are they truly that big of a deal to us?
Caleb Rawls is the pastor at Pleasant Home Baptist Church located in Laurel Mississippi. He and his wife Taylor work lead the church to love God and reach out to their community with the good news. They also have a golden-doodle named Tiglath-Pilesar IIII.
Mansfield, Stephen. “Killing Jesus” Worthy Publishing. Brentwood, Tennessee. 2013. Pg 169