This week is a very special week. It is the most important week on the entire Christian calendar and within this week we remember the events that changed our world forever. I always try to do something extra special this week of the year, and this year I have chosen to journey with you, through a book by Adam Hamilton. 24 Hours that Changed the World is a great book with only 7 chapters. So Each Day - Monday to Easter Sunday - I review a chapter from the book. I very much recommend that you click the link here and overnight yourself a copy so that you can join in the discussions of each chapter in the comments below.
Chapter 6 - The Crucifixion
Today, if we follow the footsteps of the disciples through the week, must have been the worst, how fitting it is that we examine the actual crucifixion today.
Hamilton points to two things about the method used and points to two common historical misconceptions about how Jesus may have suffered to the point of death. The first is to me less significant when it comes to exploring the emotions of the events that took place and that is the suggestion that Christ's feet were not one atop the other nailed to the cross but instead nailed separately on either side of the cross. This to me makes more logistical sense anyways considering the goal of crucifixion was a slow agonizing death and the nails in the feet were expected to be weight bearing so that the criminals could lift themselves to breathe and to ease the strain on their arms. So in a sense, the Romans would have wanted it to be easier for them to lift themselves up so the suffering would last longer (they kind of enjoyed that stuff).
The thing Hamilton points out that I want you to concentrate on is that there is a reason to believe that the cross was not nearly as tall as most imagery and movie scenes would seem to suggest. He says that it is likely that the vertical beam of the cross stood no more than 10 feet high with room above the criminal's head for the sign depicting the nature of his crime. This, for me, completely changes the emotions of the last 6 hours of Jesus' life. Hamilton begs us to imagine standing on a chair looking at our friends, from this vantage point it is still possible to look people in the eye. It is close enough to feel the emotion of your mother crying. It is close enough
to hear the voices of those mumbling statements of doubt. It is close enough to realize exactly what is going on as the soldiers are fighting over your clothes. As I mentioned this day, this Saturday after Good Friday and before Easter had to have been the worst day in the entire life of the disciples. Can you imagine being close enough to feel the struggle for life your Messiah went through as he prayed for those crucifying him? Can you imagine the sense of duty John must have felt when his teacher and his friend asks him to care for mother Mary? Can you imagine the sense of emptiness and defeat after Jesus Cried his last and they pierced his side? Can you imagine carrying Jesus Body into the tomb and laying down the dead corpse of the one you had believed would save the world? I am thankful that I did not have to suffer that day without the knowledge or understanding of what they would see come Sunday morning. I am thankful that I have never known a world that didn't know the best part of the story. Because in the moments of my life where I cannot see what God's plan could possibly be, in the moments of lowest hope in my life, it has to be nothing compared to laying Christ in a tomb and not knowing of the resurrection.
May you live a life that takes joy in knowing what they found the next day. May you live a life with the hope they did not know of on that Saturday long ago, and may you experience the reality of Christ resurrected.