’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!
– Charles Wesley, And Can It Be
Worshipped as a king, feared a revolutionary, betrayed by his friends, and because of these he is arrested and sentenced to death.
Jesus is of course all of these things. He is the one true King. He is a revolutionary. He is a friend to betrayers. All of these individually would push him to being a criminal in the Roman Empire and Jewish religious system he lived in. Jesus was not surprised by his arrest. He doesn’t fight it; he submits to it. When given the chance to recuse himself before Pilate, Jesus responds with talk of his Kingdom. He doesn’t deny he is a king, he simply reveals that his kingdom is different.
And so Pilate gives into the wishes of the populace and sentences Jesus to death.
Jesus, Son of God, is executed like countless other common criminals.
In his death the Son pleads to the Father that the sins of the world be forgiven. In his death he feels the sting of the Father forsaking him. In his death he experiences the weight of sin and absorbs all of it into himself. Jesus the righteous one takes into himself the sin of the world so that men and women might one day become children of God. He became a sin offering so we might become the righteousness of God.
With a cry that his life was finished the world went dark.
All hope seems to be lost, but Sunday is coming!
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set
your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and
our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and
grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy
Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life
and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you
live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.