Posted by: peebles | April 2, 2012

The Passover story.

“Grandfather, grandfather, tell us the story, please grandfather, just one more time,” asked the little girl with eager excitement in her voice. It was the day before the Passover in a little house in Galilee, where the whole family had gathered. The room was packed with people who wanted to hear the story. The room had five small oil lamps burning to give light to all within it. And so, the grandfather found a seat and made himself comfortable. He looked around at everyone and smiled at all who were waiting with baited breath to hear the story. The grandfather took in a deep breath to begin.

“It was very early in the morning and I had come into Bethlehem for the special Passover, but what happened on that day I will never forget. I was only a young man at the time, however what I witnessed on that day made me grow up into a man. As I approached the city, I could hear people crying, while some shouted the worst abuse; words that are too terrible to even mention. Curiosity got the better of me, so I pressed forward through the crowd. There was this grotesque figure with a crown of thorns on his head. It was a man who had obviously been severely beaten and tortured; there was hardly a bit of skin on his body, and the trail of his blood could be seen way down the road, for with every step He took his blood dropped on the ground. About five feet behind him a man was carrying a cross. I later found out it was for the man in front with the crown of thorns. The figure got closer and closer to where I was standing. The Roman soldiers were carrying whips with bone and metal attached to them, and threatened the people with them if anyone reached out a hand to help the man with the crown of thorns.

My heart was beating so fast I began to shake, as I thought to myself, “What has this man done to deserve to be treated like this?” Then, before I knew it, the man with the crown of thorns was about two feet away from me, and although I could hear the screams of horror and shock from those who were repulsed at his appearance, the other half of the crowd shouted insults at him. Then, it all went silent. I could see the crowd and see their lips moving but not a sound could be heard.

The man with the crown of thorns glanced at me. I froze and for a moment I could not breathe. His glance pierced deep into my soul. It was as if God Himself looked at me. All of a sudden, I felt convicted of my sin and my need to be forgiven. The man with the crown of thorns then looked towards Golgotha’s hill. Suddenly, the noise of the crowd shouting and screaming burst into life as the crowd followed him, almost hounding him, like a pack of wild dogs barking and snarling at their prey. As they pushed by me I stood still, my eyes filled with tears and with the shouts of, “Crucify Him! Crucify him!” ringing in my ears.

As the crowd moved off towards Golgotha’s hill, the shouting grew quieter, but I was still rooted to the spot. The road was now almost empty, but something filled my whole body with a sense of being clean. It was not a feeling that you get when you offer the bulls and rams as a sin offering, it was more than that.

Slowly, I walked towards the hill of Golgotha. In the distance, I could see two crosses already up each with a man hanging on them. The sound of the hammer upon the nails going through what was left of the flesh of the man with the crown of thorns will always stay with me. Then they even tied a rope around His arms. I have no idea why they did that, because they never did that to the other two that were crucified beside Him. Then, as I got nearer, I could see the man, Jesus, with a crown of thorns, being lifted up in the middle of the other two and he was stripped naked. While the two on either side of him had a rope around their necks which held a bit of wood across their chest which told you their crimes, Jesus the man with the crown of thorns, had sign written in Aramaic, Greek and Latin, which read, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

I dared not go any farther. The company of Roman soldiers stood at the bottom of the hill and only let a chosen few stand under the cross. By this time, is was high-noon, and the sun was shining down, but all of a sudden there arose a wind from the east and with not a cloud in sight, the sky turned dark, completely dark, so dark you could not see your hand in front of your face. It was a darkness that I have never felt before and hope I never feel again. It sent shivers down the back of your spine. For three long hours this darkness covered the land. Then, there was an earthquake; I could even feel the ground beneath me shake. Then, I heard a loud cry from this man called Jesus, he cried out, “It is finished.” No sooner had he said those words than the sun shone through, like a beacon. It shone first of all directly on the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. You could see his head bowed as his body hung lifeless on the cross. The darkness disappeared just as quickly as it had come. One of the soldiers, a Centurion, stood up and gazed toward the cross of Jesus and said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.”

“The Son of God,” I thought to myself, “they have just crucified the Son of God? Why? What did he do wrong?” Once again, I started crying as I closed my eyes and remembered how Jesus looked at me with eyes of love, mercy and kindness.””

All those in the room listening to their grandfather, were leaning forward, wanting to hear what happened next. The grandfather paused in his story telling to wipe away the tears from his eyes; his sobbing was heartfelt. Many of those listening were also sobbing. The little granddaughter put her hand on her grandfather’s hand and held it so tenderly, as she said, “Grandfather, what happened next?” as if kindly pressing and lovingly persuading him to tell the rest of the story. After wiping the tears away from his old eyes, the grandfather gently squeezed the little girl’s hand and continued.

“Something gripped me and I had to watch as the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus to see if he was dead. Then they cruelly broke the legs of the other two who hung on the crosses on either side of Jesus, so their death would be quicker. I sobbed as I saw some men and woman take the body of Jesus tenderly off the cross, pulling out the nails from His hands and feet, and untying the ropes from His arms. As they did, one of His arms flopped lifelessly to the ground. His body looked like every bone was out of joint. I mourned for this man Jesus as if I knew Him, as if He were my best friend. It was at that point I walked with my head bowed to my brother’s house. I had not seen my brother in six years. He lived in Bethlehem, not far from the hill of Golgotha. When I got there, I knocked on the front door, my brother answered it and wrapped his arms around me and kissed me. He noticed that I had been crying and asked if something was wrong. I quickly relayed what had happened. To my surprise, he went over and bolted the door, put his finger to his mouth to signal for me to be silent, he took me to the inner room and began to tell me all about Jesus, who for the past three years had preached a message, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near“, and how He went about healing all who were sick, casting out demons, and even raising several people from the dead. Also, the Chief Priests and synagogue rulers had issued a decree that anyone who followed Jesus would be put out of the synagogue. Even so, thousands followed Him. Then, those from the synagogue had stirred up a crowd to shout before Pontius Pilate that Jesus should be crucified. So the Roman soldiers took Jesus and scourged Him and beat Him badly. The Jewish rulers also had Him beaten, but before that, they had plucked His beard from His face. Then He was crucified by the Romans. My brother went on to say, “Now, I just don’t know what will happen to all of us who followed Him.”

I stayed with my brother during the Passover, but early on the third day, after they buried Jesus, some people started to say that Jesus had risen from the dead all by Himself! There were even reports that some people who had died and were buried were seen walking alive; this all happened on the same day that Jesus came out of the tomb alive.”

One of the little children who sat near the grandfather looked at him with his eyes wide in awe and said, “Wow.” By now there was rush of excitement in the room, and everyone’s attention was fixed, riveted, hanging on every word from their grandfather as he went on to say, “Now, I helped my brother with his cattle out in the field for about forty days, until it was the day of Pentecost, so then we went to town. As we passed by a house, we both heard a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind coming from inside the house! Just then, from the house to our right hand side came the disciples of Jesus spilling out with Peter ahead of the rest (my brother pointed him out to me). So we stopped and looked at them, their faces shone like the sun. About 120 of them came rushing out all excited and they were all speaking in different languages, praising God. Peter then climbed up on top of a stairwell and began to speak to every one of us, he told us about God pouring out His Spirit on all flesh and about Jesus being the Messiah. Peter then told us to repent and believe the message of Salvation and receive the Holy Spirit. Before I knew it, I had a flash back to the day when Jesus looked at me as he walked on the road up to Golgotha to be crucified, wearing a crown of thorns. I fell down on my knees and wept, and cried out to Him to be saved. As I looked around me, it looked as if thousands of people were doing the same thing, all crying out to Jesus for forgiveness. Peter then told us to be baptised in water. We all, as one man, arose and went to the Lake of Galilee and every one of us was baptised.

So today my children and grandchildren, we celebrate the Passover meal in a way that is so unique, today I will show you all where we find Jesus Christ the Son of God, my Saviour in the Passover meal, how we remember Him our Messiah who lives among us and with us even now. With that the grandfather began singing a hymn and lighting a candle and telling his family, who had gathered, that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, who came to save them from their sins.

God bless you my friend, Matthew


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