What Would You Have Been Thinking the Night of the Crucifixion?

TODAY’S READING: PSALM 22-27

You’re a Jew in Jerusalem for the Passover. Or, perhaps you are one of the priests, scribes, or Pharisees that live in the city. Perhaps your name is John. Maybe, even, you are Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, “the teacher of Israel.”

On Thursday evening, the 14th of Nisan around 3 to 5 p.m., you slayed your lamb in preparation for the Passover meal. Then, early Friday evening, the 15th of Nisan, you sit down in your house with your family to eat the sacred meal.

But, you can’t get something out of your mind. There was a man crucified the day before. He was a famous, many would say notorious, man. This man had claimed to be the son of God.

You probably don’t realize it yet, but He was crucified the 14th of Nisan at 3 p.m. (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34), which is the same time that you killed your passover lamb.

Perhaps you do remember the time because it was at that very hour, the ninth hour, the hour the Passover lamb was to be killed, that he cried out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Just moments later that famous, many would say notorious man, “cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” (Matthew 27:50)

Ever since, those words – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – have been ringing in your mind.

Why can’t you shake those words?

You could the temple, or wherever you could, to find the scroll of the Psalms. You find those words – “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”

And you keep reading.

“O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find not rest.”

You say to yourself that this man who claimed to be the son of God did not get an answer from God while he was on that cross.

And you keep reading.

“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”

You think to yourself that surely this man wasn’t calling the God that forsook him holy. Yes, our fathers were rescued this night out of Egypt. But, this man? He’s dead and in the grave. God didn’t rescue him from the Roman cross.

And you keep reading.

“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me.”

You remember the day before when the Roman soldiers mocked this man who claimed to be the son of God. They put a crown of thorns on his head and gave him a reed for a scepter. What a pitiful sight. Truly, this man was a worm, not even man.

And you keep reading.

“They make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

You remember people yelling at this man to take himself down from the cross and prove that he was the son of God. But, this man said nothing in response. He just took their insults.

And you keep reading.

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.”

You remember the soldier pierced this man in the side and water and blood gushed out, almost like his heart melted. And, you remember that just before the man died he said, “I thirst.”

How is this man’s death so similar to this psalm?

And you keep reading.

“They have pierced my hands and feet – I can count all my bones – they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Now you are thinking this is really strange. The soldiers had to pierce his hands and feet to nail that man to the cross. Yet, when you took him down and prepared him to be buried, you could tell none of his bones had been broken.

And, didn’t those soldiers really divide his garments by casting lots?

And you keep reading.

And you keep thinking how this man’s death paralleled this psalm.

And you wonder how it all worked out by the end of this psalm, but this man that was crucified, whose death mirrored this psalm, is just dead in the grave.

What would you have been thinking?

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