God’s Plan

God’s plan INCLUDED the cross and every step along the way there.

It’s morning now and we are continuing our walk with Jesus as He follows His Father’s plan. This is the hardest day in history but it also brings the greatest gift. Jesus’ life for mine according to the God’s ultimate plan.

When we began our Passion Week progression I stated that one of my premises was a Wednesday crucifixion. We haven’t adhered to any timeline but followed the events as they unfolded. Today we will walk with Jesus on His last earthly journey this side of the grave. I don’t believe it matters to Him which day we reflect on His amazing gift to us, so long as we acknowledge and accept the work He did.

I want to step back and pick up where we left off yesterday; right before the rooster crowed and then move on to just before sunset. This will take us from Jesus’ “trial” before Caiaphas to His death and burial. I don’t think we will be going as deep and in depth as we did yesterday but I don’t know what the Holy Spirit has in store for me yet. I’m going to put links in to some of the poems I have written over the years that He is bringing back to me right now. I believe they are worth revisiting on this day of remembrance.

When we left yesterday we stopped at the moment of Peter’s third denial of being one of Jesus’ followers. I posed the question of, was Peter claim to “not know this Man” maybe on some level meaning that he couldn’t “reconcile the actions” of Jesus as He now stood silent in front of Caiaphas and His accusers. I don’t know if this was what he was truly feeling, but the moment the cock crowed ALL illusions and pretense fell away. Peter saw Jesus turn His head and lock eyes with him. He immediately remembered Jesus’ words about this very moment. No longer could he claim he “didn’t recognize this Jesus.” Peter stood broken, naked and ashamed! Not physically “naked” but spiritually naked. He was laid bare in that moment, ALL attitudes and pretenses stripped away. “I have failed Him completely! And in His very presence!!!” Please read The Cock Crowed. I believe it says it better than I could today how Peter felt that morning, and days afterwards.

Jesus is taken, bound, to His next “trial” right after daybreak. This trial is no more legal that the one He just faced in Caiaphas’ courtyard, but Caiaphas is trying to put a veneer of legality on the whole process. Talk about a miscarriage of justice! The Sanhedrin rubber stamps Caiaphas’ charges and his decision. We know that not ALL of the Sanhedrin agreed with Caiaphas’ plan but Jesus’ “sentence” was upheld anyway.

Jesus is then taken, still bound, to Pilot, Herod, and back to Pilot again to be questioned and sentenced by the Roman government. I don’t know about you but I have NEVER witnessed the “wheels of justice” moving faster than they did that morning. Jesus stood for judgement on four occasions that morning alone. His “original trial” before Caiaphas happened in the middle of the night, so I’m not counting that one for the morning’s events. NOT ONCE was Jesus given representation. NOT ONCE did He speak up and refute the charges or correct any “misconceptions.” He spoke very few times throughout this entire process. He held His tongue to allow the proceedings to come to the conclusion God had ordained.

Jesus was physically mistreated and BEATEN while in custody during all His encounters except the full Sanhedrin appearance. Honestly, we don’t know very much about that appearance from our authors. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that He was treated the same there as in all His other appearances. The “crowning event” in His physical mistreatment was suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers in Pilot’s palace. Here He took the stripes upon His back and the crown upon His head, ALL for us.

Jesus’ body is in a state of exhaustion. His back is burst open and bleeding everywhere. He has blood dripping into His eyes from where the thorns have been driven into His head. His wrists are raw from His bindings. His wounds on His back have been reopened every time they change His garments while tormenting Him. Now, that exhausted and broken body is taxed even further by the laying of His cross upon His shoulders. It is not any wonder to me that He needed help carrying it to Golgotha. What surprises me is that the Romans actually allowed Him this assistance. They were NOT known for their compassion.

We reach Golgotha where Jesus is nailed to His cross and raised up for the world to see. All these activities happened in the early hours of the morning; during the first to three hours on the Jewish clock.

I want to pause here for a moment and share something with you that I saw this morning. I was trying to find a comparison of our modern time keeping with time keeping in Jesus’ world. In the gospel stories we are given references to “at daybreak”, the “third hour”, the “sixth hour” and the “ninth hour” when looking at the events of this day. I just wanted to know what time of day these notations corresponded to. But I found SO MUCH MORE than just clock references. I found references to what was going on in the temple at those times of day and how those times hold even more significance than I had ever given them. If you already know about this, feel free to skip ahead. But for those, who like me, are having an “ah ha” moment today, join me as I share a little tidbit from the Spirit.

During the “first hour” of the day, from daybreak to 8 AM the first sacrificial lamb of the day is brought out and BOUND to the altar. This lamb has received its “death sentence” and is left bound to the altar until the appropriate time arrives to carry out its “sentence.” Jesus was “tried and convicted just before daybreak and BOUND to be taken for the “sentence” to be carried out.

At the “third hour” the lamb that was bound to the altar at daybreak is sacrificed. At the “third hour” of this day, Jesus is nailed to His cross to begin His final sacrifice. The first blood has been shed in both the temple and on God’s ultimate altar.

We hear nothing beyond the waiting from Golgotha until the “sixth hour” where darkness descends upon the scene. Back at the temple, the “sixth hour” is when the second sacrificial lamb of the day is bound again to the altar. The air is thick with heaviness and anticipation. I believe this is when God’s heart is heaviest.

The “ninth hour” strikes and the second lamb is sacrificed upon the temple altar. At that same hour Jesus surrenders Himself to that same fate. The ultimate sacrifice is complete. The sacrifice to end all sacrifices is made. When the centurion pierced Jesus’ side, the final blood sacrifice is poured out.

Let’s return now to the scene at Golgotha. MUCH has happened as Jesus waits for just the right moment to release His hold on life. He is stripped, his clothes gambled for, mocked, and displayed for the world to see but His love still shines through. He FORGIVES those who have treated Him this way, makes final arrangements for the care of His mother, and grants “citizenship” to the newest “convert” hanging beside Him on his own cross.

The final moment has arrived. It is the ninth hour. Jesus now wears the sin of the world upon Himself. His Father turns away as He cannot look upon this sight. Jesus cries out in aloneness for the first time EVER! My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? It is finished! These two utterances spoken, Jesus surrenders His life. His heart literally breaks under the pain of this moment.

Love is shown to Jesus in the ministrations of Joseph and Nicodemus as they lay His body down in a new tomb. I believe they began their preparations for this evening as soon as they learned of Jesus’ sentence. The stone is rolled in front of the tomb and HEAVY hearts are carried back to their places of rest. The women who have accompanied Jesus and born witness to all the events mark this place in their minds. Their hearts too must wait for it is the beginning of the High Sabbath.

Just sit with this scene for a moment. Pause and wait for Him to say what He will to Your spirit as you too remember this amazing gift Jesus and the Father CHOSE to give.

When I was beginning my study this morning regarding this day, the song The Plan of Salvation was ringing in my heart. I wanted to know if there were any more verses that the one I knew, so I looked it up on Youtube. I discovered the entire song is one verse and a chorus that is repeated before and after that verse. I felt compelled to change that so it would cover more of the story. I’m going to let the Holy Spirit take me where He will in that task . WHEN/(IF) we complete it I will post it for you to share too.

THANK YOU JESUS for Your willingness to walk this road in my place. I don’t deserve this gift but I wholly accept it! Father, I’m SO SORRY for what I put You through. You had to stand by and watch as Jesus walked out Your plan. As a parent I KNOW that was PAINFUL! Thank You for sharing a bit of Your pain and joy with me when You gave me Between Triumph & Tears.

Thank You also Holy Spirit for showing me that “ah ha” moment when reading the accounts left for me. I LOVE it when You open up new little tidbits for me along the way.

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