Matthew 27: 32-56 – A place where
In order to be able to appreciate the fullness of Easter, we need to spend time considering the sacrificial cost before we can truly celebrate the wonderful occasion.
All the gospels agree that Jesus’ crucifixion took place at Golgotha (The place of the skull), situated just outside the western wall of Jerusalem. While possibly referring to the shape of the hill, the name reminds us that it was primarily a place of execution. Despite being a place of horrific death, it also speaks of a unique turning point in history – a place where opposite paths met.
It was a place where accident and design converged. From one perspective the cross can be interpreted as the tragic martyrdom of an innocent man. After the travesty of a trial Jesus was crucified as a common criminal. However, Jesus repeatedly warned his followers that all this would take place. As the true ‘King of the Jews’ (37) God’s saving purpose and love lay behind his death. Spend some time considering what this truth means for you personally.
It was a place where evil and good clashed. The darkness over the land (45) reveals a cosmic battle taking place in this event between good and evil. As Jesus took our sin upon himself, he was separated from his Father (46). The tearing of the temple curtain in two (51) shows how Jesus secured access for all into God’s presence. Where do we need to receive Christ’s forgiveness in our lives?
It was a place where defeat and victory coincided. To many witnesses Jesus’s life appeared to end in utter, abject failure. However, the centurion saw something different: ‘Surely he was the Son of God (54). The breaking open of the tombs (anticipating the resurrection), affirms Jesus’ victory over sin, death and Satan. In what areas are we feeling defeated in our spiritual lives?