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Journey to Jerusalem Day 40

Palm Sunday, March 28 Isaiah 52:13-15
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15 so shall he sprinkle many nations.

Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
Don’t look. Avert your gaze. The sight is too grotesque. Yet, our eyes are drawn back again to a man on a cross.

What is it about this man? There is something mesmerizing about him.
Is it his suffering?

Prior to crucifixion, Jesus of Nazareth was beaten beyond recognition. Face black and purple with bruises, so swollen that he sees only through tiny slits.
Blood streams down his face and off his body, forming pools in the sand. These are the result of a cruel, cynical crown of thorns and a scourging that nearly skinned him alive.

But, no, Roman brutality is nothing new. Hundreds, even thousands, of men had suffered a similar fate. That is not what is so captivating.

The placard above his head reads, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.

Early in his ministry, people tried to make Jesus king by force (John 6:15). He fled. But during a symbolic, politically driven trial, Jesus acknowledged his kingship to Pontius Pilate. Despite objections from the Jewish religious leaders, Pilate insisted on the sign. Odd as it seems, what we are watching is a coronation.

Odder still. Although, his physical strength is waning, the man on the cross exudes a mysterious power. How can a pitiful, dying man be so alarming? Our eyes won’t look away. Our feet are fixed at the foot of the cross.

Intuitively, we realize that something epic is happening. But what is it? We are speechless.

The sun is gone. It is dark as night. The earth quakes. Jesus dies.

From the murmuring crowd rises the voice of one man, the leader of the execution squad. After years of killing, he is blind to human suffering. But sees what no one else can. He declares, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)

Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me.