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Historians say nearly 5,000 Americans have died from lynching. That number included African Americans, Native Americans, Italians, and Mexicans. In these killings without a trial, some witnesses cheered as people suffered and died. When soldiers crucified our Lord, some of them cheered, but others grieved. Among those who cheered were the religious leaders. They scoffed, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.” Even one of the thieves crucified with him jeered. But among the others, even the Roman officer who carried out the execution said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” The other thief said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Mary, Jesus’ mother, stood there with a broken heart. Joseph, a compassionate rich man from Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Mary Magdalene and another Mary were there and watched Joseph put the body in his tomb. They were all eyewitnesses that day. Some were unmoved. Some scoffed and jeered. Some had broken hearts. Few knew the reason why the Messiah died. Few realized that in three days, He would rise again to change history. Our own response to those events can have a profound impact on us. If we claim Christ’s death as the payment for our sins, God forgives us, fills us with His Spirit, and enables us to live a fulfilled life. If we ignore that event, we forfeit our eternal inheritance.

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