What a gloomy Friday morning there was one day in Jerusalem. Three men were about to be executed for crimes, two for thievery and one for the trumped up false charge of blasphemy, claiming he was God. But to Caiaphas, the high priest, there was more a stake here than the bizarre claims of a small time carpenter from a rustic village. Jesus had presumed to walk into the temple area, Caiaphas' own coveted little hypocritical purvey where he sold sacrifices for exorbitant prices and denounce his wicked business as religious racketeering. "You make my father's house a den of thieves," Jesus had said, and drove the animals out. The high priest, hiding his evil covetousness behind the elaborate garb of the most honored religious office in Judaism, could not--would not--allow such effrontery from a little man go. The same despicable, corruptible spirit that made Caiaphas turn poor people's sacrifices into a personal lucrative business could not let anyone, especially a nobody from Galilee, expose his hypocritical religious trafficking. Jesus must be stopped and be publicly destroyed to keep his swindling business intact. He must be scourged, and given the most horrible death penalty that could be imaginable, crucifixion by Rome - the inhuman, despicable, horrifying, agonizing slow death by torture. Imagine such envy and hatred by another human being! Caiaphas would see this done, gloat and clap his hands at Jesus' suffering. How dare this impudent, itinerant, small time would be rabbi criticize him. So he had him suspended between heaven and earth to watch him die with a smirky grin.
However, suddenly the very sun hid its face at the black wickedness that was being done and midnight darkness drapes the ugly scene with an ebony blackness and a silence that wiped the grin off Caiaphas' smirking face.
From the cross and out of the black silence came the cry that did not bring the end to Jesus that the high priest had passionately sought - rather it brought the end of Judaism as Jesus wailed, "It is finished." In that cry came the doom of the demons of darkness who thought they had rid themselves of threat. However, they were the ones that were finished because with that last breath the price was paid that satisfied the penalty for sin and the keys to the chains of the captives of sin were forged in the gospel to make all accept this magnificent Jesus as the Christ of God. Yes, the old priesthood tyranny was over as the new righteous high priest ascended to the right hand of God to make the wonderful, wonderful atonement for you and me. Think of what a blessing this is...we will live forever where we will never be haunted by age and death again. Never! Never! Never! AMEN