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. Ana Love says:

    It’s interesting how yesterday I’m feeling remorse, betrayal (on my behalf), hurt and heartache while today although the heartache is still there I’m feeling humbled and thankful for Jesus who gave himself as a SACRIFICE for me.

  2. Angie says:

    Even the sun bowed in reverence to the sacrifice of the Son.

    For my sin you suffered and died, Jesus.
    Your love is unfathomable,
    yet evidenced in Your sacrifice.

    I am sorry to have made this necessary
    I am sorry for Your suffering because of me
    My I live the life You have made possible
    in honor and worship of You alone.


  3. Mari V says:

    I looked up a YouTube video. The scene on Passion of the Christ Where Jesus falls down and His mothers is watching and she ran towards Him and she is “remembering” when he was a little boy and she picks him up and rocks HIM.

  4. Beth Meagher says:

    Belief is easier at devotion time or in uplifting corporate worship. Seminary upheaved my heart as well. Trust is difficult with a rebellious child and tough decisions or enduring lasting challenges AFTER the cancer and chemo and remission. Thanks be to God he does not change and, when I do, he is here with open arms.

    1. Chloe Monz says:

      So well said. You are not alone, Beth.

  5. Pam K says:

    I am joining you Churchmouse. It doesn’t look like this will post as a reply to you, but hoping you see it. On this most somber day of reflection, how appropriate to give up some distraction. In the reading today, I was struck again by all that happened after Jesus gave up his spirit. The fact that the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two always amazes me and reminds me of our access to God because of Jesus alone. The power of this curtain tearing was not something man could do. What separated men from God’s presence was now removed by His power. Praise God that He would do this for us.

  6. Stacey Wilson says:

    Good Friday=Death
    Payment for sin

    Do I believe?
    Y E S.

  7. Heather says:

    Or was Pilate just being political? Ok, Jews, you had your King and you wanted to crucify him. Don’t forget who your lasting king is – Caesar.

  8. Linda G says:

    What really stood out to me in today’s reading is Pilate’s insistence that the sign he ordered above Jesus remained. What a stunning rebuke of the priests: “This is the King of the Jews.” Far from believing Pilate is the good guy in this story, but he certainly saw Jesus’ innate nobility and righteousness compared the the mob demanding crucifixion.

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