By Leonard Lauriault: Religion columnist
During the Easter season, many Christians reflect on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and their commitment to him. There are four places associated with Jesus’ crucifixion that parallel our experiences in life.
In Gethsemane, the pressure of making atonement for our sins peaked and Jesus was tempted to avoid the cross (Romans 3: 23; 6: 23; Hebrews 4: 15; Matthew 26: 36-48). Having received strength from God to face the trial, he proceeded with joyous anticipation of the salvation he would bring to us (Luke 22: 43; Hebrews 5: 7-9; 12: 2).
When we face temptation we need to turn to God for strength. This is what Jesus told his disciples to do — watch and pray. When we do, God refreshes us by helping us overcome the temptation (1 Corinthians 10: 13; Acts 3: 19. I know, we need not repent if we overcome the temptation, but we will be refreshed every time we do turn to God).
Another place we find Jesus on trial is Pilate’s judgment hall, Gabbatha, which means “Stone Pavement” (John 18: 28-19: 16). That may have been part of or attached to the foundation of Pilate’s palace being just outside. Jesus had been on the spot for the truth and even acknowledged the fundamental truth of his kingship and that everyone on the side of truth also would acknowledge him.
Jesus is actually the foundation of truth (1 Corinthians 3: 11; John 14: 6; Matthew 7: 24-27). When we face trials in life, we’ll only survive if we stand on the truth, for when we do that, though all other helpers flee, the truth will remain standing on our side (2 Timothy 4: 16-18).
We also find Jesus at Golgotha where he was crucified and would be separated from God (Isaiah 59: 2; 1 Peter 2: 24; Matthew 27: 45-50; 2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10). Jesus knew the magnitude of our sin and what being separated from God would be like, but he also knew the magnitude of what God has in store for those he loves — those who love him (1 Corinthians 2: 9, 10; John 17: 1-5; 14: 15-21; 15: 9, 10). He could have called the angelic host to save himself, but he loved us more (Matthew 26: 53).
We also will have struggles and even pain in our Christian life, but that’s nothing compared to the pain of being eternally separated from God or the joy of experiencing God’s eternal presence. Jesus’ trial went from Gethsemane through Gabbatha to Golgotha. It ended in a garden where he arose victorious (John 19: 41-20: 18).
How will you stand up to your struggles in the trials of this life? Will you stand up for and upon the truth? He will stand by you and give you victory over death if you will stand by him (Hebrews 2: 14, 15; 1 Corinthians 15: 54-58).
This is something we should reflect on year round (Acts 20: 7; 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26).