Having just celebrated Easter Sunday, I ponder what went through Jesus’ mind as he carried the cross on which he knew that he was going to die.
Jesus had been condemned to death.
The subject of the death penalty periodically comes into the public domain, often after some horrific crime has been committed and people cry out for justice to be done.
I totally agree that justice must be seen to be carried out – but the death penalty?
Well I, personally, have problems with it because it is so very final; what if there’s a mistake been made, a miscarriage of justice?
I recall reading that in America something like a third of those who have been executed were later proved to be miscarriages of justice.
It might at some later date offer some kind of consolation to the person’s family and friends to know that their name has been cleared – but not much consolation for the person who has been executed.
And then I wonder how they would deal with their situation as the weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds tick down, knowing that they are innocent and that the guilty person is free to continue committing crimes, and maybe another innocent person might be in the same situation in the future waiting for their life to end and to enter into the uncertainty of death.
The day before Jesus’ death he went into the Garden of Gethsemane with some of his disciples knowing what the following day held for him.
The Bible tells us that he began to be deeply distressed and troubled and that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
This is a well known reaction for some people who are under intense stress (hematohidrosis).
I don’t need to remind you of the enormous physical pain that Jesus suffered on the cross, any account of a crucifixion reveals it as the worst horror imaginable.
Jesus could have chosen not to have suffered but he, nevertheless, still took that fateful journey.
Some of his last words were: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”.
This sums up why he chose to die, ‘forgive them’ (not only those who killed him) but also ‘forgive us’ for the many times that we have done wrong because we, too, often don’t understand what we are doing.
That’s why Easter day is so special - it symbolises the forgiveness that we can receive from God.