The most intense twenty-four hour period in history. To many in the Roman empire at that time, it was just an ordinary Thursday and Friday. To the Jews that day it was one of many celebrations of the Passover. To the world and history, it was the day of ultimate salvation.
A man, ultimately humble, yet ultimately powerful. A simple carpenter from Nazareth who was the Son of God. Fully God and fully man. Tempted, yet without sin. This was Jesus, the Christ. “No form or majesty that we should look at him,” yet his name shall be called, “Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father,” “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us.”
Jesus’ disciples did not know what was going to happen after that Passover meal, though they had been told by Jesus himself many times. Their teacher, whom they respected above all men, got up from their feast and served them by washing their feet. It was a day that they would never forget.
Then Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives to pray. This was leading up to the moment of destiny, told about since the beginning of time, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” However, Jesus still prayed that the cup be taken from him. When the mob came to arrest him, Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to slay them, but he did not. This was the moment where the ultimate predestined event met the ultimate act of freewill.
With Jesus’ crucifixion, the cross, which was the ultimate symbol of torture, punishment, and death, became the ultimate symbol of grace, freedom, and life. The perfect man, completely without sin, bore the punishment for the sins of the world.
In that moment, irreconcilable paradoxes were reconciled. The greatest measure of God’s wrath, and the greatest measure of God’s love were poured out. Wrath and grace were poured out on those undeserving of it. No moment was more terrible, and no moment was more beautiful.
In that hour, the Trinity was broken, the Son cut off from the father, and man was restored to his Creator. On that Passover day, a day on which the Jews remembered that they were set apart by God, the door of salvation swung open wide to the whole of humanity. The curtain was torn.
Jesus cry, “It is finished,” was the ultimate cry of surrender, and the ultimate cry of victory. He died, and in his physical death, man was saved from eternal death. The world mourned and the sky grew dark, and all was still. The earth held it’s breath as its savior, for the glory set before him, endured the cross, despising its shame, and died.
But the story wasn’t over….Sunday was coming.