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Fresh Thoughts From The Cross - Part 4
Paul David Guidry's picture

Those Who Knew Jesus…Waited

I have read this passage more times than I can count. Last week I read this passage again several times leading up to our Good Friday gathering at The Bridge Metrowest. Four fresh thoughts popped in my head as I read the story of the cross again! Here is the last of four:

Luke 23:44-49 (The Passion Translation)

It was now only midday yet the whole world became dark for three hours as the light of the sun faded away! Then suddenly in the temple, the thick veil hanging in the Holy Place was ripped in two! Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice—“Father, I surrender My Spirit into Your hands!” And He took His last breath and died. When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and began to glorify God! Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the Righteous One!”  And the crowds that had gathered to observe this spectacle went back to their homes overcome with deep sorrow, and were totally devastated by what they had witnessed! But standing off at a distance were some who truly knew Jesus and the women who had followed Him all the way from Galilee were keeping vigil. 

 

I love how this Bible version puts it. “Those who truly knew Jesus…were keeping vigil”. In the last blog we talked about how the crowds see the signs coinciding with Jesus death. They get depressed. They are overcome with deep sorrow, perhaps even grief. But the ones who really know Jesus keep watch. They wait. The women are keeping vigil. Why?

You can experience grief and not be overcome by it. How much more sorrow were they feeling? The crowds saw the stuff of God while He walked the earth, but they actually knew Him! They followed Him! Surely they felt grief. But they were not overcome by it!

The ones that knew Jesus waited. They saw their hopes and dreams for a modern day Messiah that would restore their nation to its former glory. They saw their dream die with Jesus on the cross. Yet, they had heard Him speak. Their fascination with Jesus did not stop at His miracles. They had pressed in to hear His heart. Something in them had come alive at the sound of His voice. A flame within was lit and did not wain. I believe they didn’t understand His death. But I believe they knew something was about happen!

Hebrews 11 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the conviction and assurance of things unseen. The ones that really knew Him knew that this wasn’t the end of the show. The mix of sorrow and expectation consumed them. They had a faith that had been passed down from their patriarch Abraham. God told him to go to a mountain and sacrifice his son, the son who was God’s promise: Isaac. And it was through Isaac that Abraham was promised to become the father of many nations. Abraham heard the words of God, but he understood what it meant to obey God. He walked with God so intimately that even though he heard the words of God, he heard inside the voice of His Father.

So when Isaac asked him in Genesis 22:7 “My Father! Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  Abraham, with the substance of faith which is the currency of heaven, declared with all assurance in verse 8 “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."

So here we are in Luke 23. Fifty-five generations have passed. Two thousand years have gone by. And the deep future beyond the momentary circumstance that Abraham found himself in presents itself.  

God, Himself, provided a Lamb for sacrifice. 

The ones who really knew Jesus had the substance of faith come to life in their hearts at the sound of Jesus’ voice. They knew what they had seen with their natural eye but somehow their hearts were connected with a reality that was not readily seen. How disheartening Saturday must have been.

Then the light of Sunday’s dawn broke! Jesus, who is the divine Messiah. He is the only gateway to salvation and the only portal through whom we have access to the Father.  God, provided for us a Lamb for sacrifice: Jesus.

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Luke 23:44-49 (The Passion Translation)

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