Sunday, we celebrated Easter, but did we contemplate each step of Christ's journey and what it means for us as Christians?
Picture it: Thursday night. Darkness. Jesus prays alone in the garden. His disciples sleep.
Armed men suddenly appear. They arrest Jesus, who experiences betrayal, fear, desertion and denial.
Friday, 6 a.m.: Jesus is tried on blasphemy and sedition charges, he's found guilty and sentenced to death on a cross.
Friday, 9 a.m.: Jesus receives 39 lashes with a cat-o'-nine-tails and a crown of thorns jammed on His head. He is forced to carry His own implement of death, the cross. Soldiers drive nails into His hands and feet to secure him to the cross. They unceremoniously drop the cross into a hole in the ground to keep it erect.
Friday, 12 p.m.: The sky fills with dark, boiling, threatening clouds as Jesus suffers.
Friday, 3 p.m.: After asking forgiveness for His persecutors, after ensuring His mother would be taken care of, after crying out in agony, He declares, “It is finished" and dies.
Friday 6 p.m.: Jesus’ body is removed from the cross, wrapped in burial cloths, laid in a borrowed tomb, and he is left for dead.
Saturday all day.: The disciples huddle in fear and drown in sorrow.
Sunday 6 a.m.: Women prepare Jesus’ body for burial — but then discover the tomb is empty ... and they realize ... Jesus had come back to life just as He said He would!
This is what separates Christianity from all other religions. We worship a risen savior. Not even death could keep Jesus in its bonds.
Easter's deep meaning gives Christians the kind of hope, joy and peace to live this life knowing that the best is yet to come.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.