Although the Passion of Our Lord began with his anguish at the Garden of Gethsemane and was followed by his arrest, trail, mocking, beating, scourging, crowning and long painful walk down the “Via Dolorosa,” the torture that lead to his death by crucifixion began at 9 am, that first Good Friday morning (the time of the Jewish Morning Sacrifice), and ended at 3 pm, that first Good Friday Afternoon (the time of the Jewish Evening Sacrifice).
For approximately two thousand years, the Jewish people, following the guidelines set down by Moses in the Book of Leviticus, had sacrificed countless animals – bulls, lambs, and doves, depending on wealth or status. The sacrifices included one offered by the High Priest for the entire Nation on Yom Kippur; individual sacrifices offered throughout year by the people for their own sins; and the Morning and Evening Sacrifices offered ever day by the Temple Priests. When Solomon dedicated the First Temple in Jerusalem in 953 BCE, thousands of animals were sacrificed and the streets of Jerusalem were said to have run red with the streams of blood from these sacrifices.
Jesus offered himself up as our Sacrifice – our strong bull, enduring all for our salvation; our unblemished lamb, being slaughtered without protest for our redemption; and our gentle dove, bringing us peace with the Father. He was the High Priest and Yom Kippur Lamb, offering himself for the sins of the nations; He was (and is) the daily sin offering; and He was the Morning and Evening Sacrifice. These sacrifices served as a continual reminder to Gods people of the ugly stench of our rebellion and sin, and of our absolute need for his sustaining hand.
In this singular unmatched act of condescension, humility, obedience and love, Jesus became the fulfillment of the long awaited Jewish King and Messiah and the Salvation of us all. Through those hours of torture – his brutalized body; crushed wrists and ankles; fluid filled lungs; aching heart; and death, he washed away our sins by the streams of blood flowing from his wounds, and purchased for us forgiveness, healing, and eternal life.