In Matthew 27:32-66, we find the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, a momentous event that changed the course of human history. This passage explores the various individuals present at the crucifixion and their responses to Jesus. It serves as a powerful reminder that the life of Jesus demands a response from all who encounter it, whether they fully understand or not.
The story begins with Simon, who is compelled to carry Jesus’s cross. Simon’s role in this narrative is a compelling reminder that sometimes we interact with people without truly knowing who they are or the significance of our interactions. Simon may not have fully comprehended the gravity of the situation, but he played a vital role in the unfolding of God’s plan.
The soldiers, on the other hand, were the ones tasked with crucifying Jesus. They callously divided His garments and cast lots for them, adding insult to the punishment. Their actions were not just fulfilling prophecy but also a cruel display of indifference to the suffering of Jesus.
As Jesus hung on the cross, two robbers were crucified alongside Him. Even they joined in reviling Him, mirroring the mockery of the crowd. It is a sobering reminder that in the face of suffering and death, some people respond with bitterness and disbelief.
The passersby, influenced by the crowd, also joined in blaspheming Jesus. They questioned His ability to save Himself, echoing the taunts of the chief priests and scribes. This illustrates the power of crowd psychology and how easily people can be swayed to mock and reject the divine.
The chief priests and scribes, who should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah, instead mocked Him. They challenged Him to prove His identity by coming down from the cross. In doing so, they used His own words against Him, highlighting their unbelief.
Amidst the darkness that covered the land from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This moment signifies the culmination of His sacrifice and the moment of reconciliation between God and humanity. Some bystanders misunderstood His cry, thinking He called for Elijah.
At that climactic moment, Jesus yielded up His spirit, and the earth responded with a violent earthquake. The veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, symbolizing the end of the separation between God and humanity. Graves were opened, and the dead were raised, emphasizing the profound impact of Jesus’s sacrifice.
The story also highlights the presence of faithful women, including Mary Magdalene and the mother of James and Joseph, who remained by the cross. Their unwavering devotion contrasts with the disbelief and mockery of others.
Finally, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man and disciple of Jesus, boldly asked Pilate for Jesus’s body, providing a proper burial. His generosity and commitment to honor Jesus serve as a testament to the transformative power of encountering Jesus.
The passage concludes with the Pharisees conspiring with Pilate to secure the tomb, fearing Jesus’s disciples might steal His body and claim resurrection. Little did they know that the events unfolding around them were part of God’s divine plan.
In his reflection, Pastor Matt Krachunis reminds us that the crucifixion story involves a diverse cast of characters, each responding to Jesus in their unique way. It prompts us to consider our own response to Jesus. Are we like Simon, compelled to carry the cross, though we may not fully understand? Are we among the crowd, influenced by the world’s opinions? Do we mock Him, as the soldiers, passersby, and chief priests did? Or are we like the faithful women and Joseph of Arimathea, who recognized Jesus and responded with devotion and honor?
As the congregation takes communion, they are invited to reflect on the significance of Jesus’s sacrifice. This sacred act symbolizes their participation in the New Covenant and their acknowledgment of who Jesus is. Pastor Matt encourages the congregation to ponder these questions and respond accordingly, recognizing the profound impact of Jesus’s sacrifice on their lives.
In closing, “The Unfathomable Sacrifice” reminds us that the crucifixion of Jesus is a pivotal moment in human history, demanding a response from all who encounter it. It challenges us to consider our own response to Jesus and to acknowledge the profound impact of His sacrifice on our lives.
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