Writings by George Burgess (1829-1905)
THE DEATH OF JESUS
The Jews put Jesus to death because they believed he was teaching blasphemy – or error – exactly as all other religious zealots have put their martyrs to death.
Jesus – in view of this death – which it was clearly seen the Jews would accomplish, acted exactly according to human nature everywhere, and repeatedly prayed to be delivered from it. But finally met it without a murmur.
Crucifixion – and burning alive – the sacrifice of some later martyrs are probably about equal for causing the very extreme of anguish. The actual death, by crucifixion of the martyrs, and Jesus, caused them all about equal agony – allowing for temperaments – there could be no difference; for the physical life of each ended by the operation of the same physical and organic laws and processes.
The words of Jesus on the Cross “My God – My God, why hart thou forsaken me” should not be taken to signify doubt – but a cry from the agony of the moment – and there may have been hidden within it, a regret that so short a time only was allowed him to “work the works of Him that sent me”. But his end was right at hand. He had finished his course.
Therefore he said, “It is finished” – “Father, into thy hands I command my spirit” – and “Gave up the ghost”. It was a startling death! To crucify an evil man is dreadful; to crucify a good man is awful. The death of an ordinary man is soon forgotten. The remembrance, and powerful influences arising from the death of Jesus are natural fruits of his wondrous life. His Death can never be forgotten.
George Burgess – February 1899