27 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took council against Jesus to put him to death. 2 And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilat the governor. – Matthew 27:1-2 (ESV)
The evening prior, Jesus had his final supper with his closest friends, the twelve disciples he had chosen. After, Judas betrayed him by leading the Jewish soldiers to him as he prayed in Gethsemane. Jesus was then taken to see Caiaphas to stand trial. When approached, Peter denied knowing him. And by morning, after the mock trial held secretly in the night had ended with his conviction of heresy, he was brought before Pilat.
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilat said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. – Matthew 27:11-14 (ESV)
What was going on in Jesus’ mind? He knew he was going to die. That was certain. It was Gods plan and he would see it through. So no matter what he did he was going to that end. Then why didn’t he use the opportinity to have the “last word”. He could tell the chief priests and elders and Pilate, who represented Rome, how wrong they were, admonish their behavior, give them a prayer for their souls and warn them of Gods wrath to come. Something…anything. Instead, he chose silence.
This is a profound moment. Jesus could have placed the seeds of doubt in their minds. Jesus could have placed the seed of wisdom that would come to fruition after his death. He had nothing to lose. But it would not be nearly as effective as his resolute silence. It spoke for him.
What did it say?
First, “I have no fear. My father is looking after me. In pain and suffering I will make possible what was thought could not be possible.”
Second, “I do not wish for this to stop. It must be so and I will see it through.”
Third, “When I cross over to the other side, more will be understood than any words can explain. I will change the world forever.”
31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. – Matthew 27:31 (ESV)
Jesus walked dragging a 200 lbs cross to Golgotha (Place of a Skull) where he was to be crucified. He had been scourged in prison so his flesh was ripped from his back and continuosly poured blood. He was beaten so badly that his tendons, muscles and probably some bones were broken, swolen and in severe pain. His life clung to him as he made his way step by step knowing the worst of it was coming. As he walked along, the people spat and cursed at him and damed his soul to the fires of hell.
When Jesus arrived at Golgotha, he was nailed though his wrists and feet onto the wooden cross he just carried, then hoisted into the air with the weight of his body hanging on the nails though his limbs. The level of pain he experienced is unimaginable. How is it that he could look down at the gathered crowd mocking him, at his weeping desperate mother, at the soldiers who crusified him and he could not be broken by his spirit.
34 And Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34 (ESV)
This is the crux. He prayed for their forgiveness, amidst all his suffering. He did not ask anything for himself, but offered his prayers for us. And when he truly, genuinely could not take a moment more…
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”, that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:45-46 (ESV)
This tiny moment is the most emotional for me. Here is Jesus’ singular moment of doubt that expressed and revealed his very human self. And for God it was the final sign that he had had enough. In the instant, God ended it.
30 He said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30 (ESV)
The crowds witnessing knew that something unlike anything else had taken place. But what is finished? His death? The end of his suffering?
What was finished is effectivly taking the enirety of the worlds burden of sin onto himself to his death, and by such an act, he took it away with him. Without a sword, Jesus beat Satan, who’s weapon is hate and bloodshed and death.
With his complete act of love, Jesus carried the weight of the souls of the world to the doorsteps of heaven.