Day 12

Our Savior Is Crucified

from the Because He Lives reading plan

Mark 15:20-22, John 19:19-22, Luke 23:32-43, Matthew 27:45-54, John 19:38-42, Isaiah 53:12

BY Melanie Rainer

This is it.

This is the question and answer, the moment, the hinge upon which all of history sits.

Did Jesus, fully man and fully God, die on the cross, not just as a Jewish rebel and teacher in ancient Rome, but as the promised Messiah and Savior of all humanity? Did He?

Do you believe it?

Do I?

I have a very vivid memory of standing in the emerald-green-tiled shower of our charmingly dilapidated St. Louis apartment, a year and a half into seminary, water washing over me and tears rushing down my face. I asked myself, “Do you really believe this is true? Do you?” The questions, the concepts, and the reordering of my heart and mind were almost too much.

I have an equally vivid memory of driving to Target the afternoon our little friend-family experienced unspeakable tragedy, and of whisper-screaming with every breath I took, saying, “Jesus, be real. Jesus, BE REAL. Jesus, please be real.”

I have just as many if not more moments of deep assurance, of knowing Christ to be true. I resonate with John Wesley’s words describing his own faith: “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

All this makes me wonder, reflecting on today’s Scripture, how many people who were there at Christ’s crucifixion found themselves feeling the terror of unbelief? And who felt the sweet, blessed assurance of faith? What would it have been like to be a witness to this moment, to believe that all the promises of the ages were coming true? Or to be a blind witness, without faith, and to feel nothing more for Jesus than for the criminals who hung next to Him?

The terror of unbelief settled on Peter, who denied Jesus three times. Disbelief motivated the scoffing Jewish leaders, and the insulting criminal on the cross. It led Pilate to apathy.

But the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus believed. The centurion gasped at the sudden darkness and knew this was not just another prisoner hanging nearby.

Joseph and Nicodemus believed, and acted in faith to care for the broken body of the Son of God. Chapters earlier we read that Nicodemus, a pharisee, wasn’t sure if he believed in Jesus; but in today’s reading, we suddenly find him doing the humiliating work of preparing the Lord’s dead body for burial—work typically reserved for women and slaves. Nicodemus knew it was all true.

This is it. And it is all true.

It is true on the days I am blindsided by the terror of unbelief. And it is true on the days I feel it doubtlessly in every bone and blood cell in my body.

My Good Friday prayer, in this between-Friday-and-Sunday life that we live, is that I will always remember and proclaim, “Truly, this man is the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Our Savior Is Crucified"

  1. Kit says:

    Thank you for bravely asking a question we need to ask in the open.

    I’m in what I’ve heard is my “wilderness time” in my life, and people, even my parents, continue to doubt my faith, and the world continues to try to make me doubt.

    All this sometimes gets to me, shadowing the cleft of the rock Jesus keeps me in.

    But I know what I’ve believed, and the many times God has shown his unmeasurable grace, and these are safe in my heart, where God holds them.

    Thank you for the assurance that we may ask, but that the Holy Spirit is strong enough to keep us safe.

  2. Steph C says:

    In the words of the New Testament father, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” So thankful that God knew our need and created a way of salvation for us. So thankful for His gift of faith. ❤️

  3. Sue says:

    Abby Grace your comment is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.
    A great reminder to me that although today may seem full of fear and hopelessness, I can indeed have hope because Sunday is coming.

  4. Brenna Page says:

    I remember waking up in the middle of the night with the urgency to get down on my knees and ask Jesus to come into my heart. Through tears, I too felt the unmistakable warmth of Christ come over me. I knew it was all true, but now there was absolutely no room for doubt. Thank you Jesus for forgiving me of my sins and taking me into your arms. Thank you for loving me

  5. Emily says:

    Blessed Assurance

    Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
    O, what a foretaste of glory divine
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God
    Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

    This is my story, this is my song
    Praising my Savior all the day long
    This is my story, this is my song
    Praising my Savior all the day long

    Perfect submission, all is at rest
    I in my Savior am happy and blessed
    Watching and waiting, looking above
    Filled with His goodness, lost in His love

    This is my story, this is my song
    Praising my Savior all the day long
    This is my story, this is my song
    Praising my Savior all the day long

  6. Lisa says:

    As I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face, I’m reminded that Good Friday isn’t good because of what was done to Jesus, Good Friday is good because of what Jesus WILLINGLY did for me! He willingly was beaten, spit upon, had a crown of thorns jammed in his head and eventually died an excruciating death on a cross for me! Not because someone made him or took his life from him but because he loved me enough to suffer and lay his life down so that I could spend eternity with him!

  7. Kenya says:

    Sometimes, I over analyze this. How could something that happened so long ago affect me so much now? My brain wants to know exactly how it works! This is where I have to constantly remind myself of faith. Faith that Jesus is real and this sacrifice gives me a chance (many chances, over and over again) at being forgiven and redeemed. So I put away the over analyzation and the questioning and the doubt and I believe. I just believe that because Jesus died, I am saved.

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