Slowly, they walked up the hill at Golgotha, trying desperately to function beyond their feelings of dread. Golgotha. It was aptly named. In Aramaic, this was known as “place of the skull.” It was known for death. Breathing deeply with every step forward, they assembled there. Storm clouds formed in the sky and the wind picked up around them. They pulled their cloaks tighter and looked amongst each other nervously as darkness fell across the land. Hours went by. They were watching. Waiting. Wondering what this would mean. Fearing what this would mean. Everyone was silent. Everyone but Him who was laid bare on the tree.
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46
Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with grief. The tremors shot terror through the hearts of those standing witness, and pulsed furiously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split …. When the centurion and those with Him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” Matthew 27:51,54
Grief. Confusion. Anger. A complete and total loss of words. For the Apostles, the world as they know it just came crashing down on top of them. The hope they held out seemed like a distant memory and the One they called Master was now a lifeless body hanging before their eyes. Walking away from Golgotha was longer and harder than walking to it. They wondered what all of this was for now. Their mission. Would they even still have one? They wondered if all those things Jesus told them were even real. Nothing made sense anymore. Nothing.
* * *
Swiftly, the angels assembled, ready to bear witness to the most significant moment there ever was and ever would be in the history of both the kingdom of man and of God. Even the very earth was astir, its clouds rolling and wind sweeping, unable to contain its anticipation. They were watching. Waiting. But they were not wondering. They all knew what was to come. It would be hard to watch, but they knew He did it for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). A hush fell over them as every sin that ever was and ever would be committed laid on the shoulders of the One who came to save them. The Hope of all Hopes gave up His last obedient breath…
“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30
Thunder clapped and echoed across the sky and the earth shook with the joy of celebration. The tremors pulsed victoriously a half mile west to the Temple Mount.
“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them …. Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 7:25,27
Joy. Faith. Celebration. Songs of praise and worship. For all of Heaven knew the veil had been torn, no longer separating man from God, but creating a bridge to the Holy of Holies. Hope was now alive. As alive as their Lord and Savior. All the hard work was validated and the prophesy about Jesus fulfilled. It was the new reality for all of mankind. Everything made sense now. Everything.