Friday of Holy Week: Christ Crucified
IT IS FINISHED
As I walked outside the main gate of Auschwitz in Poland, a man sat by the roadside. He carefully held a piece of wood. It was a part of a birch tree and carved in the middle was the face of Christ. Large, sharp thorns had been placed across the forehead. This man looked at me with the hopes that I would buy this from him, which I did. The workmanship was extraordinary, even though crude. It said so much about this man and what he had made, but more so about this place where he sat.
Just inside these gates, millions of innocent Jews had been put to death. This man had made the carved face of a Jew Who was put to death and no one could find any wrong in him. As Pilot said, ” I find no case against him.”
THIS WAS A SUFFERING JEW CARVED ON A TREE OUTSIDE THE GATE OF SOME OF THE WORST OF HUMAN SUFFERING.
Jesus also sat outside the gate where he would be taken before a mob, mocked, and put to death. He prayed for the people of the world who would believe in Him, saying His hour had come and His work on earth was finished. Even though He knew the suffering that He was to endure, His thoughts were of protection and love for those who believed the words He spoke and saw the miracles He performed. Jesus said:
“Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me so that they may be one, as We are One….
I have given them Your word and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world…I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me…
Father, I desire that those also whom you have given Me may be with Me where I am… to see My glory which You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
Inside the gate of Auschwitz, just a few feet from where the man was sitting…many years before… horrors happened. One of the things that I saw in one of the torture chambers was a wall where someone had scratched a cross. We know that Christians suffered and died there also. Nothing in Auschwitz can be romanticized. Neither can the crucifixion of Jesus.
Even though great art masters have painted beautiful portraits to inspire us, the crucifixion was real torture given perfection by the Romans. The preparation for a glorious Easter Sunday when Christ rises from the dead is a solemn time. This is why the altars of the churches are stripped bare of all ornamentation or flowers. There was nothing lovely about death.
The video below is realistic with the music asking a question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Perhaps we need realism when we actually consider what Christ endured.