Today's Lectionary Text
They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
It's that time of year again. The cross of our Lord is lifted up as Holy Week approaches.
Time and again, that scene is painted in our minds by artists or preachers on Good Friday.
But have you ever given a title to each of those three crosses? Jesus did not die alone. I don't know why they chose to crucify him between two thieves, but they did. Three men; three crosses. From a distance they all look the same. As we come closer and listen to the words there is a distinct personality difference.
There was a cross of Rebellion. Think of the thief who derided Jesus in the hour he was dying. What was the path he had followed that led him to the cross on Calvary? You may conjecture as to what type of environment he had surrounded himself. We do not know. There are those today who enact that same attitude toward our Lord.
There was the cross of Repentance. Do you wonder how this man came to a cross? Who had instilled into him the ability to choose that which is good even in the last moment of life. He spoke the last kind word Jesus heard, “This man has done nothing.” Then Jesus responded with a gift of eternal companionship.
There was the cross of Redemption. Christians around the world gather about that cross during this season sensing they are on holy ground. We may know in our foolishness the cross of rebellion, or we may know in our wisdom the cross of repentance, only Jesus can know the cross of redemption. It is to that cross that we come and experience our salvation.
-Rev. Wayne Montgomery
Prayer for Reflection
Dear Lord, “beneath the cross, I gladly take my stand ... my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.”
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