“They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. 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. (John 19:15-17 ESV)
Jesus had been silent throughout most of the proceedings and as they led Him away, He continued His silent acceptance of what was about to happen. Even though He knew He would shortly suffer a horrible death, He also knew that His blood had to be shed to wash away the sins of the world.
In the spring of 2005, my sister Kathy, and her husband, Larry, arranged a vacation at a beach house in Myrtle Beach, SC. At the time, I was living in Hollywood, FL taking care of our mother and our step-father, who had suffered a stroke several months before. I drove them to Myrtle Beach, where we were all joined by several other family members for a relaxing week at the beach.
Everyone else went off on an excursion one day, and I remained behind, claiming I just wanted to relax. The truth is, I wanted to snort some cocaine, smoke some pot, and drink a few beers. You know….’relax’.
I did all of those things, but I also did something else. I watched Mel Gibson’s “The Passion Of The Christ”, which someone had left lying next to the TV. I was still very, very far from considering myself a Christian at that point, but I was curious as I had heard so much of the controversy surrounding the film. Admittedly, I was mesmerized by it even though I was still fully engaged in my private, undeclared ‘war’ with God.
Gibson’s interpretation simply has to be as correct as the human imagination can possibly make it. When I watched it back then, I watched it without devoting any thought to the real events of that day. I will be watching it again today, but from a different perspective: I will be watching it as one who has experienced the saving power of the blood shed by the One who really died that day.
This time there will be tears of gratitude in my eyes for the pain He endured on my behalf. I will also be watching it with sadness at the pain He experienced, but at the same time, I will be watching with joy for the reason He experienced it. I was the reason. You were the reason.
All of us. He died for all of us.
But do “all of us” know what that means?
For me, the shedding of His blood washed away the blood that covered my body in August of 2009 as I lay dying on a shower floor. The blood He shed as His life left His body enabled me to ask God for forgiveness and receive new life for myself.
Jesus defeated death for all of us by dying on the cross. Whereas my death that morning in south Florida would have affected only those who knew me, the death of Jesus Christ that day affected, indeed changed, the entire world.
I pray we all think about that today.
And thank Him.
“5 Minutes and 16 Seconds”
If you are a Christian,
The video below contains the most difficult 5 minutes and 16 seconds of film you will ever watch. The accompanying song, “Carry My Cross” is performed by Third Day and somehow helps to transform the tears generated by the graphic imagery of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” from tears of pain and grief at the way our Lord and Savior was savagely beaten to tears of joy and triumph at the end when His words in John 10:17-18 are displayed and we are reminded that He died willingly, obediently, and for each and every one of us because He loves us.
(Originally posted in 2015)