The events of Friday of Holy Week started long before the sun came up.
Jesus was tried before a powerful Jewish leader named Annas and then before the High priest Caiaphas. In the midst of the trials, Jesus’ friends scattered and Peter denied that He even knew the Lord. It is likely that Jesus spent at least part of the dark early morning hours in the dungeon alone at Caiaphas’ house.
Jesus then endured His official trial before the Sanhedrin before being sent to Pilate, the Roman leader. Pilate sent Jesus to King Herod in an attempt to avoid a decision, but ultimately Jesus ended up back in the hands of Pilate where He was turned over for crucifixion. Each trial brought more abuse and pain until finally Pilate had Jesus scourged. For many, the scourging itself was a death sentence. The crowd cried out, “Crucify Him!” A mock crown of thorns was pressed on Jesus head. (pictured)
crown of thorns
Jesus then carried His own cross to the gate of city, assisted by Simon of Cyrene, and is nailed to the cross about 9:00 am. Jesus uttered seven anguished, meaning filled statements from the cross, the last being, “Into Thy hands I commit my Spirit” and He died around 3:00pm. Darkness settled. Graves were opened. The veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Jesus side was pierced to fulfill Scripture, and He was buried in a borrowed tomb by sundown.
It’s almost too much to comprehend. When Kim and I visited Jerusalem, we spent some time in Caiaphas’ house. In fact, the dungeon where Jesus may have laid that night has been excavated. It was a small room with only one way in and out…a hole in the ceiling where a person would be lowered in or taken out with ropes. It was a cold stone floor. It was dark even in the day. I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus on that floor alone…injured…bleeding. His friends had abandoned Him. The crowd had turned on Him. In a few short hours, as He hung on the cross, His Heavenly Father would turn His face away and Jesus would cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Alone. Alone like none of us have ever experienced.
One of the cruelest things about the virus that is attacking us is that it forces people to be alone. The elderly in nursing homes are alone without their families. The ill in the hospital are alone and facing disease and pain all alone. People are dying alone. Let me say it again, “People are dying alone.”
Jesus understands. No one has ever been so alone. Those hours on the floor alone at Caiaphas’ house were endured for us. He understands loneliness. The truth is that Jesus went through the cross and died alone so that you wouldn’t have to. The truth of the matter is that as believers we are never alone. Not for one second. In fact, it was Jesus Himself that said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Take courage church, God is reminding us that we are never truly alone.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor Angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.