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Friday, March 29, 2013

Day Six: Thursday, Good Friday & The day of the Crucifixion

The events of this day occur rapidly, in part due to the fact that the time for the passover feast was quickly approaching. Jesus was taken first to Pilate by the Jewish leaders. With Pilate, a formal trial began where the accusations were discussed. Throughout most of this interchange, Jesus remains quiet. When asked if Jesus is  "the King of the Jews", Jesus responds with, "Thou sayest it." According to John's account of this  day, Pilate retreats to a private discussion with Jesus. At this time, Jesus confirms in brief His earthly mission to proclaim the truth.
Herod gets involved only for a moment and returns Jesus to Pilate. Finding no fault with Jesus and with his wife expressing her own worries, Pilate proclaims that he will wash his hands of the death of Jesus.  At this, those who are present agree to take responsibility. At the crowds insistence, Barabbas is released and Jesus is set to be crucified. During this time, which is believed to be about 3 hours, Jesus is scourged, mocked, ridiculed and beaten.
Jesus was to carry His own cross to the place of execution, Golgotha. In all ways, the events of last night and today truly represent that Jesus had descended below us all. All sources of dignity and respect were stripped from Him at this time. Yet in the midst of this torture, He offered a plea of forgiveness for those that were taking part in these events. For three hours a darkness covered the land. 
Surrounding Him at this time are several of His most faithful followers among which are His mother, John and Mary Magdalene. One interesting point of view that I discovered was than when Jesus confers the care of His mother to John, this symbolizes that John was brought more closely into the family of Christ. Because of what happened on the cross, we all can be brought into this deeper relationship with the Lord.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has an insightful message about the Father forsaking the Son at this time. He suggests that the Father was closer to Jesus at this time than ever before during Christ's mortal ministry. However, to answer all the requirements of Christ's supreme sacrifice, it was necessary for the Father to withdraw briefly. That Jesus would truly know and understand the magnitude of how each of us would feel, when saddled with our own sin, when we suffered from a spiritual retreat.
I cannot help but to combine Elder Holland's message about this time of withdraw from our Heavenly Father with the earlier accounts of scourging and ridicule that the Lord faced at the hands of the Roman guards and Jewish leaders. Though our sins are often known only to ourselves; the shame, ridicule and guile we place upon ourselves can be torturous. Coupled with the loss of the companionship of the spirit, we can easily feel hopelessly alone. Our perfect Savior felt ALL of this for us, not to prove He is better than us, but to allow us to be carried to where He is. Truly, Jesus Christ, knows and understands us at our very lows.
Jesus utters His final words, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit". This act of allowing himself to die, completes the witness that He would have the power to rise from the grave.
Immediately following Jesus' death, the earth shook and the veil of the temple was rent. Shortly thereafter, Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus to his private tomb. He was joined by Nicodemus who brought a kingly portion of spices for the burial. The Sabbath was quickly approaching so preparations were done hastily. Both of these men were socially well esteemed and it is believed they were private believers of Jesus. Interesting that they both came out very openly at this time to be part of such a personal and respectful symbol of support. 

Watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's testimony
Christ's Atonement is Central to the Plan of Happiness

Read the words of today's hymn before you listen to it. In 1985, Karen Davidson was asked to write the English lyrics to this tune written by Bach. She says of her goal in writing this song, she wanted three things. First, to accurately depict the details of the Crucifixion; Second, To show that the agony and death of Christ were paradoxical to the healing and release He would offer to His children and Third, a song that could be used both as a sacrament hymn and an Easter song. The lyrics are beautiful.
For full hymn, "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown" Hymn #197.

Scripture Experience:
     * Jesus in the hands of the Romans (Mark 15:1-19; Matthew 27:2-30; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:15)
     * Crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:20-28; Matthew 27:31-38; Luke 23:26-34, 38; John 19:16-24)
     * Jesus' final hours (Mark 15:29-37; Matthew 27:39-50; Luke 23:35-46; John 19:16-24)
     * Signs and reactions to Jesus' death (Mark 15:38-41; Matthew 27:51-56; Luke 23:47-49; John 19:31-37)      * The burial of Jesus (Mark 15:42-47; Matthew 27:57-66; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)

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