Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” – Matthew 27:37
The charge against Jesus is that he is the “King of the Jews”, as Matthew 27:37 tells us. Christ’s only real crime was trying to change the status quo. Change can be difficult, but seems to be especially difficult for people who have power. Jewish law had replaced God’s law and Jesus wanted to correct that. With Jesus, even the lowliest Gentile had the ability to experience the kingdom of God. So, Jesus gave people hope. Hope can be a powerful weapon and the Pharisees and Jewish elders did not want hope to spread because then their way of life would change. Jesus was killed so that the hope he gave to the people, would die with him.
It still hurts every Good Friday to think of Jesus being nailed to the cross and suffer for us, but if we take time to pray and meditate on Jesus’ suffering we will become better followers of Christ. For Martin Luther says, “whoever meditates thus upon God’s sufferings for a day, an hour, yea, for a quarter of an hour, we wish to say freely and publicly, that it is better than if he fasts a whole year, prays the Psalter every day, yea, than if he hears a hundred masses. For such a meditation changes a man’s character and almost as in baptism he is born again, anew. Then Christ’s suffering accomplishes its true, natural and noble work, it slays the old Adam, banishes all lust, pleasure and security that one may obtain from God’s creatures; just like Christ was forsaken by all, even by God.” Fortunately for us, the Pharisees’ plan to kill our hope did not succeed.
Prayer: Let us pray: Jesus, today we pause to remember your sacrificial love, that shone light into the darkness, that bore life from such emptiness, that revealed hope out of devastation, that spoke truth through incrimination, that released freedom in spite of imprisonment, and brought us forgiveness instead of punishment. Thank you that we can now walk in the light of your life, hope, truth, freedom and forgiveness, this day and every day. Amen.