Before I left for Israel, my specific prayer to God was to know the person of Jesus more. God is my Father, and the Holy Spirit is my constant companion. I know that Jesus died for my sins, but I desired to know Him like the Disciples knew Him, especially witnessing the humiliation of His dying on the cross and the glory of His resurrection.
While in Jerusalem, we went to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu where it is thought to be the location of Caiaphas’s house, the High Priest. Down in the cellar of the house is where many believe Jesus was questioned and beaten in one of the guardrooms. Our small group gathered in that dark cell, while our guide read from Mark 14.60-68 (NLT).
Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”
“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”
Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. “Prophesy to us,” they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.
Something in me shook when the words of this passage were whispered in the stony cell. Tears fell from my eyes and I began to weep uncontrollably. “Guilty!” they cried, but Jesus was sinless. It was my guilt that rang out, and it was I who deserved to die.
Then they slapped Jesus, spit on Him and took Him away. Away in my pain, away in my guilt, away in my separation from God. And Jesus cried out,“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 7.46 NLT).
Down there in that 2,000 year old cellar, I met Jesus. He showed me the humiliation of our sins that He transformed into His glory. Though one man caused the corruption of sin to enter this world, Jesus has shifted sin into a grace so powerful that it redeems us all. Gratitude for the person of Jesus filled me to overflowing, and I now walk this earth knowing that because of Jesus I will never be abandoned by God.
“And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins” (Romans 5.16 NLT).