Our Savior Is Crucified

Open Your Bible

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

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).

(52) Comments

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52 thoughts on "Our Savior Is Crucified"

  1. Hannah W. says:

    So often I have felt that terror of unbelief – when all of this feels too fantastic, too marvelous to wrap my mind around, when suffering creeps into the corners of my world, when the enemy whispers lies that I will never be enough, that I am not known by the Father. What blessed assurance there is in knowing that I am not alone in that fear, and that the truth of Good Friday trumps it every time. I am thankful today for a faith that is not dictated by my feelings, nor even by my own action, but by Jesus’ sacrifice alone. I believe!

    1. Alice Carroll says:

      Hannah, me too, me too. Unbelief is so isolating, it feels terrible not to share in the good news with everyone else. It’s really helpful here to remember that it happens, and that it will pass, because it’s still true regardless of what I think. God is so gracious, He reminds me of who He is again and again when I’m in that ‘terror’. I am grateful that one day all will be sight and my faulty faith won’t be needed any more. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

  2. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    I will join you Churchmouse.
    Thank you Lord for the suffering gift of Your Son. I just can’t even fathom.
    It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming! Hallelujah!

  3. Allison says:

    Thinking of doing the same thing, Churchmouse, my Pittsburgh sister, just as soon as this devotion was done. Praying for each of your hearts ladies as the Truth of all of this sinks in today!

  4. Aimee D says:

    Jesus reward my faith and forgive my doubt! Amen.

  5. Churchmouse says:

    Going dark from 10-3. (not 10-2)

    1. Christina Salisbury says:

      I’m joining you in this!

  6. Deb Keller says:

    I am moved in my spirit today by the 2 criminals. They represent all people. We are all 1 or the other. How will we respond? By God’s pursuit of me many years ago, I have been saved by His grace and will see Him in Paradise one day. My heart is feeling the sorrow of my sin that put Him on the cross next to me. It is also filled with Gratitude and Love for Him – even more today! For all of us who have said – remember me when You have come into Your Kingdom – May we be filled with MORE Love for our Precious Lord Jesus today. He is currently preparing a place for us in Paradise and also currently preparing us for that place. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts Jesus for ALL the things You are doing, most of which we cannot see. By faith we believe!!! Amen.

  7. Lucy Goodwin says:

    It’s Friday…. but Sunday is coming!

  8. Kristen Marino says:

    When I think of Jesus’ suffering it’s hard to fathom all He endured. Yes, He was spat upon, mocked, insulted, wrongly accused, betrayed, abandoned, denied, beaten, tortured physically to the point that He could have died from all of that. How strong He was to even be alive to make it the Cross. I think of the torture Thursday night. He was in such distress that He sweat blood in Gethsemane. He came out and found His disciples asleep. The ridiculous, unjust trials, and being sent back and forth. However, I don’t know if this is how it happened, but I picture Him seeing and feeling every sin ever committed. I picture the sins hitting Him and coming quickly before Him and on Him. Think of every lie, gossip, theft, abuse, and murder. I will never know what He went through to take all of my sins, but I know that I wouldn’t ever be able to have eternal life with the Father without Him. I want to fall in love with Him more and more.
    https://youtu.be/krYDy2e5t7k. Also, there is a devotional at harvest.org on Wednesday about Gethsemane if you want to read it.