The room was circular. It used to be a cistern. When I got to the bottom, I couldn’t find a comfortable place to stand. The floor was like a bowl and the surface was uneven rocks. I felt like I was falling into the center.
High above my head, approximately 20 feet was a hole just large enough for a man to be let down. Pastor Monte Knudsen read about Jesus being held in this place. I hoped his devotion was short.
Jesus’ experience was much worse. They let him down by a rope. There was most likely water in the cistern. There were no steps to sit on, no lights, and no windows.
He had been up all night praying. He was tired but couldn’t even sit down. It was winter. He was wet, cold, and facing three trials, torture, and finally crucifixion.
First, Jesus was tried by His church – High Priest Caiaphas
The chief priest and officers of the temple arrested him, Luke 22:47-54. The temple soldiers mocked him, blindfolded him, and beat him, Luke 22:63, 64.
They wanted to see him prophesy, asking, “Who hit you?”
Second, Jesus was tried by the mayor – King Herod
Luke 23:11, “And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.”New American Standard Bible
Jesus was questioned, accused, treated with contempt, and mocked in Luke 23:8-12.
Herod wanted to see a sign.
Third, Jesus was tried by the governor – Pontius Pilate
Pilate found him innocent, Luke 23:4, 14. Yet, he still wanted to punish him before he released him, Luke 23:16, 22.
We read yesterday how the Roman soldiers scourged him, put a crown of thorns on him, beat him on the head, spit on him, mocked him, and finally, crucified him, see Mark 15:15-24.
Pilate wanted to forget Jesus. He took a bowl of water and washed his hand, saying, he was innocent of this man’s blood, Matthew 27:24.
Everything Jesus experienced was a million times harder than I perceived from reading the Bible. He hiked down the Mt. of Olives and crossed the Kidron stream. He hiked halfway up Mt. Moriah to Caiaphas’s house. He hiked further up Mt Moriah to be tried by Pilate.
Then he dragged the cross back down through the steep, narrow, crowded Via Dolorosa over bedrock, patches of bricks, uncut rocks, and sections of pavement. It is amazing that he only fell once. He climbed the last hill, Golgotha, or place of the skull.
I walked on paths, steps, rocks, and ancient roads. I turned my ankle twice. I rode a bus from site to site. We hiked 1-3 miles a day.
Jesus hiked up and down mountains, through packed streets because it was the week of Passover. I can’t comprehend how many miles he hiked that day and each stop was worse than the last!
He did it for me…and you.
I invite you to go to your local church. I don’t care what your motive is: to hear a prophecy (the future is written in the Bible); to see a sign, or to declare your innocence.
Jesus was up all night. We can get up early because tomorrow we celebrate!
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