The Wondrous Cross
Today and tomorrow we stand at the cross, on holy ground. Take a quiet moment before God to pour out your heart in praise.
Read John 19:16b–27
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAll the fevered activity surrounding the trial is stilled and now we watch, overwhelmed by sadness, gratitude and a quiet joy.
Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha and John says, “There they crucified him…”—four sparse words that mark the pivotal moment in human history. At the cross the world is reconciled back to God (2 Cor. 5:19). Here there is grace enough to absorb the sin of the whole world, for all who will receive it. And gathered at the foot of the cross we see the worst and the best of human reaction. The religious authorities continue to demand more, Pilate’s patience snaps and the soldiers simply grab what they can.
Then at last we meet some people behaving well! Four women, including Jesus’ mother, and the beloved John, have come to watch the awful scene and to them Jesus speaks the first of the three words from the cross that John records (25–27). He commits John and Mary to the care of each other.
Already the power of the cross to reconcile and unite, to build community and a sense of belonging, is taking effect, as John draws the vulnerable Mary into the fellowship of his own home.
How will you watch today? Surely, here our pride, greed and self-pity must be laid down as we open ourselves afresh to love poured out.
What does the cross mean to you? Write it down. Maybe you could share your thoughts with someone today.
Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your life for me. I am overwhelmed by Your love.