The time is coming when many Christians reminisce about the story of Jesus being imprisoned, beaten, hung on the cross, and dying. They will be internalizing the pain and suffering that he went through in order to fulfill prophecy and bring us salvation. How many, though, will be remembering his teachings and actions?
Yes, Jesus went through great torture and had a very painful, humiliating death. I know that violence sells, but let's think realistically here. If you were to make a great sacrifice for your fellow man though, would you want people to concentrate on your gruesome death or would you want them to remember how you lived and your efforts to teach them how to make life better for themselves and others? Would you want your friends to continually grieve over your death or would you want them to remember back on the good that you did?
Jesus was hated because he stood up for the poor, the downtrodden, and other outcasts of society and healed them... for free. He was hated for standing up to the rich and telling it to them straight, for exposing the hypocritical religious leaders of his day, and for driving out the money changers at the temple. He had compassion for the prostitutes and adulterers whom the religious wanted to stone to death. Jesus did these things, not only because his Father sent him to do it, but also because it was the right thing to do. He was aware enough to see what really drove man and to understand the depth of suffering that those who were less fortunate went through. Sadly, many don't consider these things during this period. Some also forget that it was his resurrection, in which he defeated death, that we are to remember.
Try to think about what you would like others to remember if you had made a great sacrifice for them and try to look upon your fellow man as Jesus instructed us to do. He asked that we not be greedy, that we treat others as we would like to be treated, not how they treated you, that we have compassion for others rather than jealousy over their possessions and their mates, that we give to the poor, that you heal the sick, that we not discriminate (Gentiles), that we be tolerant of other religions (Samaritans, who were part Jew and part Gentile but had another religion, and Greeks who worshiped many gods, for instance), and that we have love for all mankind as we love ourselves. Remember, he wouldn't even let Peter defend him when the guards came to take him to prison. When you're remembering him, don't you think he would want you to remember those things rather than his painful, humiliating death? Think about it.
Love, Hope, Peace, & Christ Is With Us All,