Lenten Devotional: Good Friday | John 18:1-19:42

The violence of our world had taken its toll on him. What the Roman whip and crown of thorns hadn’t taken out of him, the pain of betrayal and the sting of rejection certainly had.  Jesus’ body had once been able to hew boards from trees. No longer. Now, he’s unable to bear the weight of the cross as he stumbles up the hill on his way to Golgotha, the “place of the skull.” 

Just a few days ago, the same mob that is now screaming insults at him had greeted Jesus with joy. They’d offered him a king’s welcome as he rode on triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  Palm branches waving in their hands, they’d opened the city gate and shouted, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! Hosanna” they said, a word that means “Save.” Son of David, Heir to the Kings, “Save us!” 

Our cries of “save us” have now given way to “Crucify Him!” And they nail him to the cross for the sins of the world, your sins, and mine. 

It’s easy to spend Good Friday meditating on our own sinfulness. The reality of the cross invites us to look elsewhere. We look to the one who was crucified and understand that this isn’t about our personal failings, it’s about God’s love for humanity. Today, we are invited to cling to the cross and receive the abundant grace found here. The Crucified One, with his broken body, hangs on the hard wood of the cross so that all might come within reach of his embrace. He’s reaching out to you today.