There were rumblings. People were confused. Angry. Nothing was cohesive except the mounting chaos consuming the crowd. In bursts of brutal beckoning the average onlooker was bludgeoned with an agenda akin to a kind of evil they did not even appreciate. There were rumblings of which the people in this tragic place were not even aware. Because heaven and hell were watching. There was agony and aggression, screams and squalor unlike any our ears are privy to the sound of. We understand the horrors of murder. The undoing of dissension. We know how arrogant anger dissects and diminishes. But our world was about to experience the horror of holiness disregarded.
“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ ‘You are a king, then!’’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’” — John 18:36-37
The rumblings became roars — while all of hell was frantic and frenzied over the apparent allowance of evil unfolding, all of heaven listened. Not to the rumblings of the people — their words held no authority with the hosts of Heaven; but to the One whose birth they announced just a few decades before. With but a word and angels would have moved on his behalf. But as he was questioned he was silent. To those under his command he did not beckon. Not out of fear. Not out of fury. Not out of confusion or weakness or in a moment of defeat; but out of his great and unrivaled love for you he allowed the attack to continue. In his silence he was strong. He demonstrated restraint of his strength because of his uncompromising compassion for us. Fully aware of who he was. Fully aware of his kingship, his sovereignty — and the rescue mission he had been launched into and purposed for.
“‘Where did you come from?’ he [Pilate] asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.” — John 19:9
So in the midst of this story, in the chaotic cacophony from a crowd which was drowned out by the certain silence that marked this moment — I see something in his character that I revere. He rescues. Jesus intentionally trudged unhindered into this bloodbath of unfathomable disregard for his holiness because he wants us and will not allow us to be stolen from him. He loves us more than his comfort. Loves us enough to rescue despite the roars he could hear and the ones we could not.
So while the angry rumblings indicated murderous intent, evil did not win that day. While Heaven surely wept over the unspeakable sacrifice Jesus submitted himself too, they also knew the glory of his purpose. They knew that in this moment, death was temporary and life would break through.
He rescues. And on this topic there is so much more to say…