“Carrying the cross Himself, He went out.” (John 19:17)
It’s Good Friday and it’s time to consider where you stand when it comes to our crucified Lord. Where do you see yourself as you watch Jesus walking the path to Golgotha? Do you see yourself as one of the bystanders who is waiting for the procession to pass by so you can go about your business? Do you see yourself as a friend of Jesus’ who is hurrying behind Him completely distraught and unable to desert Him? Or are you one of the soldiers driving Him on to His death?
Whatever way you view the story of the crucifixion, Jesus is always going to be the one who is at the center of it all. He is the one orchestrating each and every step and each and every action that takes place. There is nowhere in John’s Gospel where Jesus is portrayed as being helpless or even bewildered about what’s going on. In fact Jesus shows nothing but steadfast purpose. At His very own word, a whole contingent of soldiers falls back in (John 18:6). He stands in front of Pilate and He stands His ground against the procurator who is becoming increasingly anxious and afraid about what is going on with Jesus and the crowds (John 19:8). And what might seem to be Jesus’ lowest point, He announces very calmly and definitively, “It is finished.” and then He hands His Spirit over to His Father in heaven (John 19:30). This is definitely far from being some humiliating defeat as some might think. Instead this is His moment of glorious victory over death and sin!
As you think about the story of the Passion, make sure to let it fill you with peace and confidence that this is all about your salvation, our salvation. Try hard to feel Jesus’ willingness and His determination and His calm perseverance through it all. Let this help you realize that your life is safe in the loving and nail scarred hands of Jesus; remember your soul is secure in His pierced Sacred Heart!
Instead of trying to push quickly through the gloom of this day, focus your heart on the joy of this upcoming Easter Sunday, try to slow down and take stock of the meaning of it all. Try to experience the Passion of Christ much more personally and look for signs of His authority and His mastery of the entire situation. Go ahead and walk with Him. Listen to all the words that He speaks during His Passion and listen to how confident they are and how the message is for all of us.
Try to follow His example and then offer up yourself to God with the confidence that you DO belong to Him. Then realize just how committed He is to you and then consider committing yourself to Him just as deeply as He has to you. Understand that whatever “cross” that you have to bear, you can always take it up with courage and authority just as Jesus did, because He is walking right beside you giving you strength each and every step of the way.
“Thank You, Jesus, for taking up your cross for me and for all of us. Lord, give me a share in Your confidence, Your courage, and Your commitment.”
Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9
Help us Lord to have courage to pick up our own cross and to face the difficulties that might lie in wait.
Show us Your strength and courage that You had when giving Your life up for us and accomplishing Your Father’s plan.
Show us that there is no need to be afraid and that we can accomplish anything with You by our sides.
Thank You, Jesus for picking up Your cross for all of us.