As we head into this week in the church calendar set aside to remember the death of Jesus, I want to SLOW DOWN. I don’t want to rush past Good Friday, anxious to move beyond the uncomfortable story of Jesus’ death in order to celebrate the Resurrection.
Why? Because Jesus came to this earth and called people just like me to follow Him. I follow a risen savior, conqueror of death and hell. But the road He’s called me to follow Him on is a road lined with pain, suffering, humiliation. His road is the road to the cross.
We walk the road of life, grieving the pain and suffering in this fallen world, seeing humiliation and oppression around the world and in our own neighborhoods, sure to experience death ourselves.
Perhaps we need the example, the encouragement, the words of Jesus? Perhaps we could meet Him here?
Join me this week and slow down with Jesus, looking each day at one of the things He said in His last hours from the cross at Golgotha, expecting Him to meet us here.
Set aside time over the next 6 days to meditate on each of the last words of Jesus on the cross. Every day between tomorrow (Palm Sunday) and Friday, I’ll share one of the last statements of Christ on the cross, along with reflection questions and brief devotional thoughts.
Tomorrow we we begin prayerfully considering each statement Jesus cried as He finished the work our Father sent Him to accomplish. Today we remember the path that led Jesus to the cross.
After sharing a Passover meal with His dearest friends, our Lord was betrayed into the hands of His enemies, arrested, and brought before the Roman Governor.
Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He *answered him, “It is as you say.” 3 The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly. 4 Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!” 5 But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.
6 Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested. 7 The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 The crowd went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them. 9 Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead.12 Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!” 14 But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
16 The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they *called together the whole Roman cohort. 17 They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18 and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. 20 After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they *led Him out to crucify Him.
21 They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.
22 Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. 24 And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take. 25 It was the third hour when they crucified Him. 26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
(Mark 15, NASB)
Why did Jesus’ life end in gruesome, painful death?
The Sunday School answer is “He died for my sins.” This is true, and beautiful, but paying a penalty for sins is not the only thing Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
What else do you think Jesus was doing for you and for the world on the cross?
If you had to explain what the death of Christ means to you to someone who didn’t know anything about it, what would you say?
Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.