Jesus’s betrayal by Judas, his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, desertion by his close followers, his trial before Pilate, the Governor of Judaea and the great suffering he underwent on what has become commonly known as the Way of the Cross touches even the hardest of hearts. The whole ceremony on Good Friday leads to the veneration of the cross.
Many Christians can identify with the sufferings of Jesus because of the suffering that comes to all of our lives. We too experience betrayals, have to answer to higher authorities, who may not be just with us. We may not experience the intensity of the sufferings of Jesus such as being flogged, mocked, crowned with a crown of thorns, stripped of his garments, made to carry physically a cross that was too heavy and being crucified on Mount Calvary, but we face other crosses, whether it is a bad situation in the office or at home, a relationship that has turned sour, the experience of a lack of love and sympathy. We could be battling serious illnesses and be drained of our energy and strength. We may be victims of misunderstanding, ill treatment by others or may simply be rejected or overlooked. That is why in many ways we can identify with the sufferings of Jesus.
The point is that Jesus turned round his sufferings to redeem us of our sins. Even when he felt abandoned on the cross and said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” behind it was a quiet acceptance of what he had come to the world to accomplish – his passion, death and finally his resurrection.
His cry from the Cross was: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He came to establish a kingdom of forgiveness and love. He came not to settle scores but to take the weight of those scores on his own person.
Witnessing his death, a Roman centurion said: “Truly this was the Son of God.” And when he gave up his spirit, they pierced his side with a lance and immediately there flowed out blood and water. The Gospels report that darkness fell over the land and the veil of the temple was rent into two. Even the earth shook with grief at his death.
They laid him in a tomb freshly carved out of a rock, where Joseph of Arimathea and others performed the last funeral rites. Soldiers guarded the tomb lest his disciples rob the body and claim he had risen. That was because Jesus had prophesied to the Jews: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Though they did not understand it then, he was speaking of the temple of his own body.
And early Sunday morning, Jesus indeed rose from the dead. The first to encounter him was Mary Magdalene. In fact, she mistook him for the gardener and asked him: “Where have they taken my Lord?” Only, when he called her by name: ‘Mary’, did she recognise him and said: ‘Rabboni’, which means Master.
Jesus’s story culminated in the glory of Easter when he ‘rose from the dead’. That is why Holy Week is such a grand occasion for not only Christians but for the whole world, because in the resurrection of Jesus is the promise of a resurrected life for us all.
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Courtesy:Times Of India,S.T ,April 18 ,2019