To help us journey with Jesus towards the cross, each day this week I will post a scripture to read, a face from the journey of the cross on which to reflect, a prayer to pray, and a practice or suggested discipline to carry out.
Read the Scriptures:
Reflect on a Face of the Cross:
Common criminals. Thieves. Insurrectionists. The two men crucified on either side of Christ were most likely common, petty thieves, prone to violence or the equivalent of modern-day guerillas who hid in the nearby hills, wreaking havoc and taking revenge on the hated Roman government. Either way, they were men living on the edge, eking out a living, barely able to scrape by for a piece of bread or for their cause. Yet in their last moments on earth, they were crucified next to an innocent man who forgave His enemies, suffered silently, and refused to insult or curse those who cursed Him.
The meek and humble manner in which Christ faced death infuriated one thief. “Who,” he wondered, “while being reviled…did not revile in return; while suffering…uttered no threats” (I Peter 2:23)? Who, this thief must have concluded, but the guilty. Therefore, he joined with those around the cross and hurled insults at the seemingly weak, broken man.
The other thief, a common criminal, recognized what the rulers and Pharisees standing around the cross could or would not – here beside him, cursed and hanging on a tree, was the Son of God. And the humility of Christ brought forth the humility and the repentance of the criminal.
We too cannot “Behold the Man” and turn away without giving a response. Encountering His silent suffering forces each of us to make a decision as it did the two thieves. Either He is guilty and He deserves His suffering, or He is innocent and He is Lord. This week of Passion, gaze upon the broken and bruised Man hanging on a tree, uttering nothing but forgiveness, kindness, and humility. And decide…what is your response?
May our response to your Son this week ultimately glorify You. Do not let us turn aside from the cross without the appropriate response of repentance, brokenness, and humility. Thank You for the cross, dear Savior, Lord, and Friend.
In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen.
To turn off distractions and focus on Christ, consider turning off all music, radio, and podcasts in your car. Use your time instead to focus on your response to the Man of all Sorrows, broken and bruised for you.
For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.