As I commence writing a minute’s silence will shortly be observed, to honour those who have given their lives in the fight against Covid-19. We salute them and acknowledge their sacrifice.
The idea of a two minute silence originated in South Africa and was brought to the UK by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. An enthusiastic king took up the idea leading to the first two minute silence on Armistice Day, 11 November 1919. Fitzpatrick was overjoyed when he read:
“The whole World Stands to Attention.” “Cables from every part of the world showing how the King’s message had been accepted and interpreted, were printed. From the Indian jungles to Alaska, on the trains, on the ships at sea, in every part of the globe where a few British were gathered together, the Two-Minute pause was observed.”
2000 years ago there was no silence when Jesus was crucified, not even a minute. It was a time for men to unleash their hatred upon him and they didn’t hold back. While he was dying people mocked him, even the religious leaders, and two men crucified at the same time. Everyone joined in. Here’s how it’s described in the Bible:
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.(1)
Terrible isn’t it? To treat any man like that would be shameful, but this man had lived among them healing the sick, making the blind see, the lame walk, the mute speak. He fed the hungry and comforted the mourners. He did nothing but good and they killed him.
You don’t need to feel sorry for Jesus though, because he knew in advance what would happen to him, and was willing to endure it. The Bible makes it very clear that his death was an absolute necessity to deal with sin once and for all. Those who crucified Jesus had no idea that their hatred and brutality was making possible the forgiveness of sins, including theirs, but that’s exactly hat happened. Jesus bore our sins in his body(2), suffered because of them before dying, and has provided all men and women everywhere with a means of salvation. That salvation is found in Jesus alone, and we are saved when we acknowledge the death of Jesus on our behalf, admit our sinfulness and commit our lives to living for him.
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(1) Matthew 27:39-44
(2) 1 Peter 2:24