Today is Good Friday. I’ve been journeying through Holy Week with some friends with the intent of visiting Christ in His suffering. For more on why I think Holy Week is important, check out this post: The Hole in our Holy Week.
Here we are — the moment Holy Week builds to — the death of a King. This day serves as the most pivotal moment in human history.
Take a second to clear your mind. Recognize that in this moment, as in all moments, you’re in the presence of God. You’re about to enter into the story of the man who gave His life for yours. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter right now. What’s waiting for you today doesn’t matter either. In this moment, you’re here to visit Jesus in His final moments. You’re not here to give advice or to talk about your problems. You’re just here to be with Him.
Luke 23:32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with Him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And they cast lots to divide His garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at Him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up and offering Him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over Him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this He breathed His last.
HOLY WEEK: DEATH OF A KING
Today is the final day we visit Christ in His suffering. If you haven’t already, take the time to read through the passage above. Read it slow enough to picture it in your mind. Place yourself in the crowd. Imagine seeing Jesus beaten and bruised and hung upon a tree until dead. What does the scene look like? Is the air cold or warm? Can you smell the grass or is it just dirt everywhere? What do you hear the people around you saying?
I want you to take it a step further. Imagine you’re the one crucifying Christ. Maybe you picture yourself as one of the Roman soldiers nailing Him to the cross. Maybe you picture yourself as one of the religious leaders hurling insults. Whatever you feel led to do — do that. I know it’s uncomfortable, but it’s important for where we’re going. Take the time to walk the scene out in your mind.
Now, I want you to read these words out loud as you think back to your role in the scene.
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Is there any other verse in the Bible that exemplifies Christian love better than this? Here is Jesus — dying — and He’s praying for the very people who are killing Him. This small verse both convicts and inspires me like no other verse in the Bible. And it also gives me hope.
I don’t think Jesus was only praying for those who were there that day. I believe He was praying for all of us. He was praying for you and for me; for our neighbors and our friends; co-workers and family; Hindus and Muslims; Republicans and Democrats; politicians, sinners, and priest — and everyone in between. He was saying, “Father, Paul doesn’t understand the weight of His sin. Forgive him.”
For me, these words give me a small window into why Jesus came to this Earth. It shows the compassion He had for people. The love and mercy He was compelled by. The capacity for forgiveness He, and maybe even humanity, is capable of.
Today is the day we mourn the loss of a King.
But come Sunday, we celebrate the revelation of our Savior.
soli deo gloria
THINK ABOUT IT:
Take a few moments to be still and think about the forgiveness you’ve found in Jesus.
Thanks for reading. I’ve been journeying through Holy Week with some friends who’d like to set time aside to visit Christ in His suffering. Each day, we’ll look at a passage from Jesus’ final days and take some time to pray and seek Him. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you. Click this link to get the devotional emailed to you each day: SEND ME THE DEVOTIONAL