Passion | 7

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During the time of Passover, a lamb was traditionally sacrificed in remembrance of God freeing His people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt. However, this Passover is unlike any other for a different lamb is now being led to the slaughter.

In the previous episode, Jesus was sentenced to death by the Jewish authorities who needed Pilate to carry out the execution. Claudia, Pilate’s wife, has a dream and warns her husband against any involvement with the execution of Jesus. In order to elicit the desired response from Pilate, the temple authorities stir up the crowd, demanding that Jesus be crucified, knowing that fear of a rebellion will force Pilate’s hand. Pilate reluctantly agrees to the torture and crucifixion of Jesus.

Jesus stumbles into the courtyard, hardly recognizable after being tortured, wearing a grotesque crown of thorns and blood drenched, tattered clothing. He willingly grabs hold of a roughly hewn cross, as if to embrace the pain and agony that is in store, and kisses the splintered wood. Rising to His feet, and hoisting the cross onto His shoulder, Jesus drags the heavy burden forward into the streets.

People in the streets hurl insults and disgust at Jesus—the same people who welcomed Him into the city with cheers that very same week; “He was despised and rejected by mankind,” the prophet Isaiah foretells, “a man of suffering and familiar with pain, like one from whom men hide their faces.” Jesus is nailed to the cross and raised upright to hang from it.

Hanging on crosses of their own, on each side of Jesus, are two criminals. The request made of Jesus by one comes as a surprise to the other. This one criminal has seen the true identity of Jesus in the face of their horrific fates. The sky grows dark. It is finished. Tune in now to experience Jesus’ journey to a fate not anticipated—interpreted by all as a failure of mission, yet beautifully exalted and redeemed by God.

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