his swaddling, his burial clothes, one clothe in this time when we may be, when we may not see, when we may grieve, a lost one and we are, alone, but, but, a wonder – one,

24 Dec

advent wonders 7, from Mark 15 and from Luke 2,
‘And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”’

Jesus is at his death moment, alone. On a cross, tortured, flayed, only one person recognises this moment. One. A centurion, a Roman centurion. And this moment calls up another, the night of Jesus’ birth., a starry filled, angel lit night.

‘And it came to pass, in their being there, the days were fulfilled for her bringing forth, and she brought forth her son — the first-born, and wrapped him up, and laid him down in the manger, because there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber. ‘ YLT

Jesus is borne with only his earthly family, Mary and Joseph. Surrounded not by people in a house, but in an animal shelter, placed in a manger. Joseph, Mary are the only ones with him. And the guest-chamber’s animals. But… soon, soon, there will be many; various visitors and worshipers. Soon he will not be alone. Soon, shepherds and angels and Magii will come. Groups of people to see, witness, and attend to Jesus’ birth. 
Other groups of people, though, will come later and led Jesus to his death, his cross. They come not for life, but to call for death.
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

Are you the king of the Jews?”asked Pilate.

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things…’

The elders and the teachers, the whole company of the Sanhedrin cry against him. Angels hear. We hear. 

Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” …But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.’

The crowd calls for a murder’s release, and Jesus death. Many who probably a week earlier cried ‘Hosanna’ now ask for Barabbas life, not Jesus’. 

Our Saviour moves closer to complete aloneness. But he still will grow in this experience, in suffering. 

‘The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers….Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him…’

Jesus is surrounded in an open space that is filled with mocking soldiers, Romans. He could not be more alone, confined, abandoned.

He could not be more solitary.

‘They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads …. In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” … Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him….’

‘With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.’

With a cry beyond words, as a new born’s cry, Jesus dies. Yet, yet, there another’s cry, a lone centurion. So, surely….

And I m, I, join with this unnamed centurion, this man who has witnessed multitude of deaths; who leads crucifixion squads, who has killed – this man cries ‘life’ – Jesus is surely life. The Messiah.

His voice this day echoes the night songs of shepherds and the angels; Mary and Joseph’s. Jesus’ life, and his death, sing. This is his song, Jesus, 

who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together 

with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:10


But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8

Advent in 2020, as in all time past and all time to come, can only make heart, mind, and spirit sense in looking at both his birth alongside his death. Jesus’ birth and his death are one, one cry, one song.


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