Father, before the creation of the world you planned to send Jesus to the earth to suffer on our behalf to satisfy your wrath against our sin. Jesus, you did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but you emptied yourself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found as a man you humbled yourself to the point of death.
You willingly suffered in the garden on our behalf, falling on your face in the dirt before your Father pleading for another way, yet saying and over and over, “not my will, but Yours be done.” The disciples slept through your trauma even though you pled with them to watch and pray with you because of your great grief. You were arrested with swords and clubs and torches in the middle of the night after the betrayer’s kiss from Judas. Though you spoke the worlds into existence, you allowed yourself to be bound and led away. You were tried before the religious leaders and many false accusations were hurled against you. There you were struck and mocked, slapped and spit on. After keeping you awake all night, they took you to Pilate where you faced more questions and mocking.
Pilate marveled at your refusal to answer the accusations of the religious leaders. The people chose a murderer to receive mercy over you and called for your crucifixion. Behind closed doors, a whole battalion of soldiers gathered around you. They stripped you and placed a scarlet robe on you and put a reed in your hands, all mocking symbols of power, They twisted together a crown of thorns, which they “placed” on your head. They knelt before you, offering you precisely what you deserved, but in full mockery. Then they spit on you, jerked the reed from your hand and struck you on the head with it.
Then they led you to the actual crucifixion, but from exhaustion due to grief and lack of sleep and abuse, you could not carry your own cross. They forced a stranger into carrying it for you. Then they crucified you, you spared us many of the details of that horrible experience, because apparently the physical aspect was only a part of what was going on there. In the end you cried out with grief and pathos we cannot fathom, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” And then you died. And in the moment you accomplished more than we can grasp or explain, the wrath of God was satisfied and just like you parted the Red Sea, a way was created for salvation and for us to be reconciled to God.
But then on Sunday . . .