Jump Start # 2885
Jump Start # 2885
Mark 15:25 “It was the third hour when they crucified Him.”
One of the must sees in Israel is the Israeli museum. Amazing collection of artifacts, including, in a separate building, the Dead Sea scrolls. Within the museum there are collections from Canaanites, Crusaders, Egyptians, Romans and Israelite. A stone inscription with Pilate’s name, early reference to Solomon’s temple, an inscription referring to King Uzziah’s death, the sarcophagus of Herod the Great, an inscription referring to David, the ossuary of Caiaphas, a metal inscription with a verse from Numbers six that dates 400 years earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls are just some of the amazing, one-of-a-kind, priceless pieces in the collection. The history and the significance of those items are breath-taking. I could stare at those things for days.
In one section of the museum was a collection of ossuaries, or commonly called ’bone boxes.’ About a year after one has been buried, the bones would be collected in placed in a stone ossuary. Inscriptions would be carved on the ossuary. One belonged to Caiaphas, the high priest that tried Jesus.
Another ossuary revealed something very unique. I had seen pictures of this, but there before my eyes was the actual item. A bone from that particular ossuary was displayed. Piercing the bone was an iron nail. That person had been crucified. Lost to history was the story behind this person. Had he been a criminal that Rome executed? Was he a follower of Jesus that was later executed? That person’s soul belonged to God but now, the world could witness a metal nail that had gone through his bone. How painful that must have been. Taken down from the cross, he was buried with the nail through his foot. Later, as his bones were collected, the nail remained.
The thought I had as I looked at that pierced bone, was our Lord. The same likely happened to Him. I wonder if Joseph and Nicodemus removed the nails out of Jesus’ before they buried Him? What a reminder of the violent oppression by Rome. What a reminder of the slow, tortuous death that the crucified endured. What a shameful way to die.
We can read of the crucifixion of Jesus and forget about the agony, pain and suffering that He went through. His death was not quick. It was not humane. It was not as gentle as possible. In fact, it was just the opposite. It was a statement that one doesn’t mess with Rome.
The hallmark of the Bible is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remove that event, and Jesus becomes just a good example, a great teacher, a kind person. But through the crucifixion and the resurrection Jesus becomes our Savior, our Lord and He crushes Satan.
And, an interesting thought for us to consider is that we too are crucified. We are crucified with Christ. Paul said this in Galatians 2. The Colossians were told that “they had died.” The Romans were told that they had “died to sin.” I wonder if we try to take the effort and the pain out of Christianity? I wonder if we try to make it soft, easy and nice? The crucifixion of Jesus was not nice. Nails were driven through Him.
First, leaving the world behind can be hard, very hard. Old ways. Old habits. Old friends. Putting on Christ is much more than simply adding church to our schedule. It’s reshaping how we think. It’s developing a new value system. It’s seeing things different for the first time. And, as nails went through the body of our Lord, this change can be hard for us. We have to fight going back to what we were used to and even liked. Saying ’no,’ to self is hard. The way of the world is easy. The path that Satan has for you is convenient, popular and full of companions. The encouragement to do wrong is loud and strong. Living for Jesus and standing for Jesus can be like a nail through our soul. It’s the right thing to do, but it can be very hard.
Second, much of our battles must be fought alone. We can receive instruction, encouragement and support from our church family, but it’s up to us to trash those old negative attitudes. Putting on grace and forgiveness is something that no one can do for us. How we see the world, how we see others is a matter of our own choices. Just as our Lord went to the cross on His own, so we must develop the heart and mind of Christ on our own. Others may cook our food, clean our clothes and do things for us. But our character is something that only the individual person can build. It takes time and it takes effort.
Third, as I looked at that nail sticking through that bone, that’s how that person is remembered. He was crucified. He was put to death by Rome. Years from now, if the Lord allows, how will you and I be remembered? Will it be a moody spirit? Will it be a helpful hand? Will it be someone who cooperated or were you a stick in the mud? Will it be our stuff that defines us or our character?
A nail through a bone—a powerful statement. A sad reminder. Something for us to consider.