We're getting so close to our destination on this journey through Lent.
Last night, the Rabbi broke bread and shared wine with his followers, telling them that his body will be broken like that, his blood will be shed.
Do this in remembrance of Me.
Today the Messiah hangs from pieces of metal driven through his body. On a crooked tree. Between two thieves. The slow, awful sound of iron pounding through flesh, into wood. The mother weeps over her shattered dreams. She has seen her Child tortured, beaten, and hung up there. This pure God-Man drips with his own blood, the flies come, the people laugh.
Eloi, eloi lama sabachthani? An utterly human cry of anguish from the lips of God, Himself.
And the disciples still do not understand.
The Ruler strips Himself, dirties Himself, speaks with prostitutes, washes feet.
The first will be last, and the last will be first.
We are sons of the King, and we are slaves to each other.
For us to live, Someone must die.
And they still do not understand. They don't know that Sunday is coming.
They return to their city --- a city with a dark soul. Betrayal, denial, deception, cruelty. That's all they will see, because they cannot believe there will ever be hope again. They understand now that this world is a bloody mess. But they don't understand that that is why He came.
Be ready for the world to suck everything out of you, and know that it will. We live in a smashed place surrounded by broken people. Here, they hate truth. Here, there is war and death. Here, there is hypocrisy and greed. Here, there is deep, long pain. Here, it will some days take everything you have to go on.
Try explaining that. Try explaining, to someone, a hell they're living.
But this is only the middle of the story and all the best stories get awfully dark before the end. All of this is part of the cost. For now, "to love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken," (C.S. Lewis). Broken hearts are a price we sometimes pay for loving life. But life is worth that. A new morning, or a song, or a mother with her child. A wedding day, a springtime, a smile, a peace that passes understanding. Forgiveness. There is beauty in this world and it is a beauty that is growing. This world was good before, and it will be good again, indeed. Because Sunday is coming.
We cry, but not alone. Our Savior weeps with us. He doesn't leave us to our sufferings. Instead, He came and lived our sufferings.
Now we see in a glass darkly, but then face-to-face. Now we only know in part, but what we can know now is that He came because He loves us. He came to crush the head of the serpent by surrendering Himself to death. And death couldn't handle Him.
They laughed because they had killed the King of the Jews. They were convinced that if He really were God, then He could have come down off of that cross, and that if He could have come down off of that cross, then He would have. But He didn't.
In order for death to work backwards, He had to commit His spirit into the hands of His Father.
It is finished.