THE HARDEST CHOICE – Golgotha
Cornelius ordered his men to stay out of sight. He and Cestus took up positions where they have a clear sight of where the lane intersected the street. The street itself was a gradual slope going up. The street itself was not level but were actually steps. There were a number of people looking down hill that had their backs on them. By the sound of the crescendo of the people’s voices, they both could tell that the forward elements were close.
Cornelius was unusually anxious for some reason. Normally, when he makes a decision he focuses on the task. But right now, he is on edge. In his mind, memories of his time with Jesus would crawl its way up to the forefront of his thoughts.
He was back on the tall hill overlooking a moonlit glistening of the Sea of Galilee.
“When Moses told the people, ‘Thus saith the Lord, that if they want to live from the deadly snake bites, all they have to do was look at the bronze snake on a pole and they will live,’ what do you think was the real reason they lived? Was the idol of the bronze snake magical? Some would think so, but they will be surprised that believing that will not save them. So, tell me Cornelius, what really saved them?”
“They were saved because they believed the message… the promise of God… and they acted on it.”
“That Cornelius is faith.”
“Sir… the front guards,” whispered Cestus.
Cornelius came back to the present. He saw the crowd being pushed back by the front elements. Then when the the first prisoner came in sight. To Cornelius everything seem to slow down.
This time he found himself hearing Jesus saying to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind in God’s interests, but man’s.”
This is when Jesus revealed, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.”
Then the words of Isaiah came floating up.
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief… [Isaiah 53:10a]
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. [Isaiah 53:6b]
It hit Cornelius like a splash of cold water to sober him up so that he can remember that God had intended this to happen to Jesus.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5]
Jesus has given himself over to pay for our sins.
If he saved Jesus from the cross, would he not be, Jesus said, guilty of him not setting his mind in God’s interests, but man’s? He has to act in faith. But what is it that he putting his faith on? Then the words of Jesus came forefront again.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.”
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
Then it hit him. Jesus will die but he will be resurrected on the third day. His task is to believe in this and let everything happen as God intended.
The story continues on in my next post.
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