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. Maggie Radmacher says:

    I believe

  2. Stephanie Roberts says:

    The Unbelief motivated:
    The belief motivated
    Action in faith

    The apathy is hitting me the hardest today…may I not just believe, repent and have faith, but may I be so motivated that it affects every and all parts of my life.

  3. Janice says:

    The majesty and glory of this are new every time I read it. Lord thank you for loving me so much that you made this sacrifice. Amen

  4. Lizzieb85 says:

    In past studies I’ve learned that some think that even Simon of Cyrene (who carried the cross) became a believer because his sons are mentioned. That they are mentioned means that the church was familiar with who they were, possibly because they were believers now too.

  5. Shawn Parks says:

    “ There was a garden in the place where they crucified him. A new tomb was there that no body had yet been placed in.” Wow! First of all, a garden in at the same location called Skull Place. Does anyone else see the beauty that is in the same place as such indescribable ugliness, grief and terror? Isn’t that the true greatness of our God—he has also placed in our ugly sinful souls the absolute beauty of his love, mercy, and grace as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ! The juxtaposition stuns and humbles me. Second, in that garden there was a tomb. How neatly convenient. If this was the place of the skull where the Romans held their horrific executions it seems odd to me that tombs might be readily available. Debatable, I guess, but consider this. God knew this same tomb would only be needed for 3 days-a short time—an then, Praise our Great and Loving and Redeeming God, the grief and sorrow that was entombed in that place would be released and raised to glory, joy and life! Sometimes I am in my own dark, seemingly hopeless tomb that is in the beautiful garden of God’s great love, very near the cross of my Lord, but I have to wait through the darkness for a short time until I am restored to his joy and light! Thank you Lord for your sacrifice and for your example to stay near you when times are dark because the days of restoration, healing, and resurrection ARE coming! God is indeed good!

    1. Lacey Carder-Holden says:

      I love the way you put this! So beautiful. Thank you for that view point!

  6. Eliss Gray says:

    I completely resonate with this reading today as a second generation follower of Jesus. Sometimes in my life, I felt growing up in the church that the price for me that Jesus paid to spend eternity was too extravagant. Too much. It was too much for a girl who had a hard time making friends and getting bullied every day to really believe that the God of the Universe would step down from glory and take my place on the cross. And this semester especially I’ve doubted God’s goodness in my life and prayed “Jesus, be real. Please. This is hard.” The point I guess I’m trying to make is that Jesus and the price on the cross doesn’t change based on the year I’m having, the doubts I have or what the Enemy lies about God and Christianity. I just feel extremely humbled remembering today that the King of Kings stepped down from His heavenly royal realm to die in place of me because He wanted me in Heaven with Him forever. Soli deo gloria!

  7. Linda J says:

    Truth that never changes. Thank you Lord…

  8. Abby Grace says:

    I’ve always loved Good Friday, but didn’t really make that known because it seemed strange to answer “what’s your favorite holiday?” with a day focused on death. And of course we know that this Friday is only Good because we know what happens on Sunday. But I think for me, part of what I love about this day is the manifestation of that in-between feeling. I’m someone who wrestles with anxiety and depression on and off, often fearing the worst would happen. The beauty of Good Friday for someone like me, and I think allow us, is that God gives us this day to mourn. It’s a day set aside where we can lament and feel the heaviness of Christ’s death. For one day, the worst happened. And praise God that we know the next part of the story. Praise God that we know the tomb is empty. But it’s such a beautiful reminder that even in our times of unbelief, our fears, our hopelessness, we can sit there with hope, knowing the truth that Sunday is always coming because of what Jesus has accomplished.

    1. Tricia Schutz says:

      Yes! Yes! Yes! You put beautifully into words what my heart feels. Even when the worst happens… Sunday is coming!

    2. Dee Wilcox says:

      Yes! Good Friday and Saturday are my favorite because they represent our everyday, in-between life. Waiting for redemption and the fulfillment of the promise. Waiting for all things to be made new. Waiting for His return. My breath clutches in my chest when I read, “On this day you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *