Today’s 40 Days of Lent reading is from John 19:28-42.
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.
My soul sits heavy today.
I know that victory has been won and that Christ has Risen.
But to fully celebrate that victory on Easter morning, I find it necessary to reflect on all the ways I am also responsible for the crucifixion and death of Jesus. It’s like the story He told to Simon when the sinful woman anointed Him with oil:
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said . . .
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m keeping it all together pretty well. I become numb to my sinful ways and trick myself into believing that I don’t need the precious sacrifice of Jesus.
I know, it’s pathetic.
And if it weren’t for my marriage, a good church and the humbling support of friends, I think God would have to spend a lot more creative energy getting me to remember Him and the power of the cross.
The truth is, I am still a sinner. I didn’t magically become perfect when I became a follower of Jesus. I just acquired His power within me to pursue His perfection. And so I continue to be made new.
The cross is the greatest reminder of my sinful ways. It is incredibly painful to see re-enactments of the crucifixion but it snaps me out of my numb ignorance to the pride, anger, envy, and deception that continue to show evidence in my life.
I’m looking forward to the Good Friday service we will be attending tonight because I desire to be humbled by God and the sacrifice of His Son. If you don’t have plans to attend a service, I encourage you to read the full scripture of the crucifixion of Jesus which you can find here, here, here, and here. You may also want to participate in some worship of your own. Here are some great hymns and some more contemporary songs to observe this powerful and solemn day:
Blessed Redeemer – Casting Crowns
Jesus Paid It All – Newsboys
O Sacred Head Now Wounded – Fernando Ortega
In the Cross of Christ I Glory – Holland Davis
Lamb of God – Sarah Reeves
The Power of the Cross – Kristyn Getty
Worthy is the Lamb – Hillsong
Just As I Am – Brian Doerksen
Heavenly Father, I confess my complete inability to be whole without Your redeeming power and ask for Your forgiveness in all the ways I have failed and continue to fail You. Thank you Jesus for being the Lamb who sacrificed yourself for our sins. In the words of my nephew, You died so that the people could live longer. Not only longer, but freer and richer. We praise You for the complete freedom You won for us in Your victory on the cross. Hallelujah! We wait expectantly for the day You will return. Amen.