In the1960s I followed the Apollo space program with interest. Then came the greatest flight of all – to the Moon! Students were sent home from school to watch the amazing event, the culmination of so many years’ planning and coordination.
But soon even space travel became boring. No-one remembers the names of the last two men to walk on the moon. We only remember two flights: Apollo 11 & 13. When the movie, “Apollo 13” was released some said, “I’m not going to watch it – we know the ending.” But the film was a momentous success as we found ourselves inside the space capsule, travelling alongside the astronauts, knowing the outcome, but caught up in the moment.
I think a similar stirring may have occurred in Jerusalem in AD30 when three men were seen dragging rough crosses through the streets of Jerusalem. It was Passover and hundreds of thousands of Jews had gathered in the city. On these occasions there was often nationalistic talk of revolting against the Roman occupiers. Maybe the Romans thought a crucifixion would be a good reminder to the people that a similar fate would await anyone who tried to rebel against them.
Everyone knew the outcome for these men – an ugly and painful death. But some in the crowd were hoping that one of the men, Jesus, might perform a miracle and somehow bring about a revolution of some kind that would free the people. They did not know what we now know – Jesus was, in fact, rising up against the evil in this world. But to win He had to die. Only then would the ransom be paid for our wrongdoing, giving us true freedom. We do well to “be caught in the moment” and again thank our Saviour for His greatest miracle.