You may remember a fascinating Guardian advert from 1986, which shows the same event from three different angles, demonstrating how important perspective is on how we view and interpret a situation. Ever ask God why?
Moses gave the Israelites God’s clear instructions about how they were to celebrate the passover (Exodus 12:43-51). One thing they had to do, was cook a lamb whole, presumably indoors, which must have been challenging in itself, then to carve off every piece of meat without breaking a single bone. That was some feat. I bet they wanted to ask God why! But the meaning only became clear some 1500 years later, when Jesus became the new ‘Passover Lamb’ sacrificed on a cruel Roman execution cross. Breathing was impossible in the suspended position, so victims has to use their legs to push themselves upwards, to take each painful breath. Normally, after a few hours of intense suffering, their legs would be broken to hasten their death through asphyxiation. When the soldiers came to Jesus, however, they found he was already dead so not a bone of his was broken (John 19:30-33).
Why was this so important? Well verse 30 of John 19 tells us Jesus ‘gave up his Spirit’. That brings a whole new perspective on it. The Romans did not kill him; the Jews did not take his life; he gave it up, freely. In the finish, it was his choice. Here was no victim. Jesus willingly offered himself to take our place, to pay for our wrongs, to make a way for us to be forgiven, and for us to come back into relationship with God the Father; to become our Passover Lamb, by whose blood we are saved.
When life gets a pain we often ask why. Why me? Why this way? It’s not fair! Like the Israelites, we may not understand God’s requirements, or his ways, or why things happen to us. It is interesting to note, that on this occasion at least, the Israelites never asked why. They just obeyed the instructions (Exodus 12:50). They just trusted that God knew what he was doing. They wanted their freedom too much to question.
And I’m just so glad Jesus never asked why either.