“Hail, King of the Jews!”
Open Your Bible
Psalm 22:1-26, Isaiah 53:1-3, Luke 22:63-65, John 19:1-5
Text: Psalm 22:1-26, Isaiah 53:1-3, Luke 22:63-65, John 19:1-5
Any day now, I’m going to have a baby.
Birth is one of those elemental moments in life: I’ll get to really yell and really cry. I love birth because I just can’t control it; I’ll go into labor when the time is right. One day soon I’ll be folding laundry, or lounging in a co-worker’s nice leather chair, and SOMETHING will HAPPEN—I’ll go into labor. Don’t you just love it with something happens?
So many days follow suit, one after another—but when something really happens we all stop and stare, or yell, or get out our phones to make videos. We really pay attention in these elemental moments of pain. Folks are always asking me to prophesy WHEN the baby will be born, and I keep dodging with, “I’m not going to miss it.” That’s just it. Some things in life are so big, and so intense, it’s not possible to miss them. When the baby comes, I won’t just sleep through it.
Intense moments grab our face on both sides and force us to pay attention. In my moment of need, I will be center stage. My husband will rub my back, my facebook friends will pray for me, my church is already preparing casseroles for me, my doula will speak encouraging words, and my midwife will attend me like a queen. It’s true. These people who love me will drop everything and turn their faces to me.
But for Christ, in His moment of greatest intensity, when SOMETHING is really HAPPENING, we see that people are turning their faces away from Him.
We are painfully aware of the human side of Christ in these passages. He is in agony (Psalm 22), He is alone and isolated (Isaiah 53), He is mocked (Luke 22), and He is rejected (John 19).
In Jesus’ darkest moment, His best friends—those disciples who are like brothers to Him— deny and abandon Him. They look around for places to hide.
The law turns its back on Him. Pilate finds no reason to punish Him, but allows Him to be taken away in spite of justice.
And finally, most painful of all, His Father turns away from Him.
When Jesus feels the sharp crown of thorns pressed into His head, He is alone. At a time when we all should be there, lovingly attending Him, we turn our faces away. Although Jesus was 100% God, He was also 100% man, and this isolation was real for Him. Everyone He loved left Him to suffer the hardest moment of His earthly life alone.
Let this moment grab you by the face. Yell if you have to. Turn your face towards our Lord and see the cost of our sin piled on His sacred head.
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.
“O Sacred Head Now Wounded”
attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153