Easter is all bunnies and eggs. It is about the laughter of children and spring warmth. If you want to believe all that, it’s fine by me. However, there is a sinister and dark side of Easter.
If you strip easter of all the trappings except the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Easter is beautifully horrific.
At the age of thirty-three, Jesus was condemned to death. At the time crucifixion was the harshest of executions. Only the most heinous criminals were sentenced to be crucified. Jesus was no criminal. He was a threat to the status quo, a radical preacher and a homeless drifter.
Before being nailed to the wooden beam he was beaten with a tool called a scourge. It was a handle with small pieces of metal or bone at the tips of leather strips that pulled the flash from his back and face as he was struck with it forty times less one. Then a crown of thorns was pushed onto his head that cut deeply into his scalp. He was forced to walk over two miles in his humiliation, blood dripping, while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones at him, as he carried the wooden crossbeam.
Beaten and wounded he walked. Falling three times. His mother was forced to watch him suffer. His followers, those who loved him and those who believed him watched, cried and helplessly followed.
At the hill where the cross stood, scattered with skulls and bones from previous executions, there stood at least three poles. Jesus was nailed between two. The nails, long about six inches were driven into his wrists through to the cross beam, not into the palms as seen in most paintings and movies. The tendon in the wrist extends up and over to the shoulder. When the nails were hammered into his wrists the tendons tore. Then his feet were nailed together, one over the other with one long nail. Because of the broken tendon in his wrists and the nail in his foot, he had to use his back strength and legs to support his weight. Just to breathe caused pain in his back and legs.
Jesus hung there for three hours and at some point, his blood stopped pouring. Maybe it clotted or just simply ran out. A spear was thrust into his side to see if he had died and water poured out of him.
The earth shook, the sky went black and the veil in the temple ripped in two.
That day the world changed.
I want to be like the ones who say that Jesus’ body was an illusion; however, something in my soul tells me that is a lie created by weak humans who can’t understand the suffering of the divine.
Death was not the end.
Three days later, the tomb where they placed him was empty.
There is some debate about the details of that day. It matters not. The only thing that matters is the man called Jesus died and rose again to ascend to heaven. Jesus claimed to be the son of God, the Messiah, the Lamb to save us.
Our hope as Christians is that his life was as written. His death and his resurrection is the truth. That we have a life waiting for us on the other side of all this suffering.
You can believe how you choose. It is not my place to judge.
I choose to believe in Jesus.
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