Scripture: Mark 15:16-20 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
Luke 23:33-34 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with two criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
John 19:28-30 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Devotional: The Romans were notorious for their innovation when it came to torture and death. And crucifixion was one of the most cruel forms of carrying out a death sentence. There was no mercy or humaneness in it at all.
It’s easy to gloss over the incredible pain and suffering that Jesus endured during His crucifixion. We wear and bear crosses so frivolously, without regard for the torturous thing that it truly is. The closest thing we can compare it to today would be the electric chair. Imagine wearing the image of an electric chair around your neck. How morbid.
As we reflect this Holy Week, let us not forget the morbidity of the cross. Jesus suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually, beyond what we can even imagine. The cross is beautiful in the redemption it brings into our lives. But it was the most brutal of all condemnation.
- The cross is a continual reminder not only of what Jesus suffered, but also to what we are called. As the old hymn expresses “Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross. Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.”