40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Six: Tuesday)

Tuesday

Confession: Psalm 123:1–2

I lift up my eyes to you,

the one enthroned in the heavens.

Behold, as the eyes of servants

look to the hand of their master,

as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to Yahweh our God,

until he is gracious to us.

Reading: Mark 15:21–32

And they forced a certain man who was passing by, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), who was coming from the country, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place Golgotha (which is translated “Place of a Skull”). And they attempted to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots for them to see who should take what. Now it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him was written, “The king of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” In the same way also the chief priests, along with the scribes, were mocking him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he is not able to save himself! Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Even those who were crucified with him were reviling him.

Reflection

The Passion of Christ was very bitter for three reasons:

  1. The goodness of Him suffering is marked by three circumstances—First, He harmed no one: “He committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22 nrsv). Second, He most patiently sustained the injuries laid upon Him: “When he was abused, he did not return the abuse” (1 Pet 2:23 nrsv); “I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jer 11:19 nrsv). Third, He was doing good to all: “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38 nrsv); “I have shown you many good works from the Father” (John 10:32 nrsv).
  2. The indignity of His death is marked by three things—First, He was judged, which was the most wicked of all: “But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ ” (Luke 23:21 nrsv). Second, He suffered many indignities: “They gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head … and they spat on him” (Matt 27:27–30 nrsv). Third, because He was condemned to a most shameful death: “Let us condemn him to a shameful death” (Wisdom of Solomon 2:20 nrsv).
  3. The cruelty of those who crucified Him is seen from three things—First, He was very cruelly flagellated before death: “… after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified” (Matt 27:26 nrsv). Second, at the point of death He was given vinegar and hyssop to drink: “So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth” (John 19:29 nrsv); “For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psa 69:21 nrsv). Third, He was wounded even after death: “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear” (John 19:34 nrsv).

—Thomas Aquinas

The Lord’s Work and Ours

Response

In His final moments on the cross, Jesus experiences total isolation and rejection. Spend time rereading and quietly reflecting on the details of this passage in Mark.[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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