Journey to the Cross

By: Mickey Rapier | April 19

Good Friday

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[a] Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

– Mark 15:15 ESV

Perhaps you are alone right now, in the quiet, reading your Bible. You woke up this morning realizing that today is Good Friday, the day we set aside to remember the crucifixion of our Lord. If you are a follower of Christ, there is something in your soul that darkens on this day. So, if you have the privilege of solitude, linger here for a few minutes. We live in a world that seems to manufacture noise! Finding quiet and stillness is as elusive as catching a butterfly. But on this day, we need to stop… stop and contemplate the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on this most holy of days.

Jesus had found quiet in the Garden of Gethsemane only a few hours before the trials began. But from the moment He was arrested, the noise rose to a fevered pitch. Those who were responsible for His arrest would not sit still or close their mouths until He collapsed and gasped for His final breath. As Jesus now stood before Pilate, He was alone, or maybe a more fitting word is deserted, awaiting the ultimate sentence of death. Everyone had scattered, just as He said they would.

I remember the first time I ever felt alone. I was in the second grade and was sitting in the principal’s office, the result of a “minor skirmish” on the playground. The seconds ticked away like hours as I sat the well-worn, wooden chair (Old Sparky) in the principal’s office, awaiting my fate. You’ve had similar moments, too. Perhaps you were waiting in a doctor’s office for the dreaded test results. Or maybe you were waiting for news of a loved one that could be good, or tragic. I’m sure you can relate in some small way to that sense of utter isolation that Jesus must have felt. He knew the agony and suffering that lay before Him.

Pilate, a ruthless Roman with a reputation for cruelty, seemed hesitant to crucify Jesus. Perhaps the warnings of his wife gave him pause, but it seems he tried to release Jesus over and over. Seven times he proclaimed Jesus’ innocence, but the Jewish leaders would not hear of it. “CRUCIFY HIM!” became their reply to anything Pilate attempted to say, and they persuaded the crowds to join in their demonstration.

Sensing a growing rebellion, Pilate satisfied their thirst for blood by flogging Jesus and, ultimately, released Him to be crucified. The flogging alone could have killed Him. The journey down the way of suffering, carrying His cross, was more than His famished, sleepless, dehydrated body could bear. A stranger was compelled to help Him, yet He was alone in His suffering, deserted by those to whom He had given life. And now, even the shadow of His Father’s face would begin to turn away as He bore the sin of all mankind.

And so, wherever you are right now on this Good Friday, be grateful. As a believer in Jesus, the peace transcending all understanding that indwells your heart is borne of His suffering and sacrifice. The calmness of spirit, whatever your circumstance, isn’t possible but for the hope of eternal life extended to you. In the quietness of your soul, worship Him with your whole heart.

“He was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NIV

Today’s Readings: Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:39-19:1, 4-16a; Matthew 27:27-34; Mark 15:16-23; Luke 23:26-33; John 19:2-3, 16b-17

5 Comments

  1. Cindy McGinnis

    Thank all of u who have shared this most Holy Week to prepare our hearts for His resurrection!
    He is risen!

    Reply
  2. Kathy Rusch

    This carries over from Tennebrae which was a revival for me. Thank you, Fellowship, through Whom the Holy Spirit works.

    Reply
  3. Russ Robertson

    Very powerful words, Mickey. Much appreciated by all of us.

    Reply
  4. Tony Royko

    Hi Mickey,
    Just arrived at our hotel in Dallas after 5 hours of heavy traffic and having spent the past two days undergoing testing at MD Anderson Houston. Praise God for continued clean report on the cancer. But I praise the Lord for the hope in Christ that we have regardless of how things go for us on this earth. This was my 30th trip to MDA Houston. God has been faithful with every visit, although the news hasn’t always had the happy factor this visit had. I appreciated meditating on your Good Friday message. It felt like you were talking to me when I read it.
    Blessings,
    Tony

    Reply
  5. Clif Ruddick

    Mickey, thank you for composing such a thoughtful devotional for us. I have always benefited from your unique perspective which I can identify with so easily.

    Reply

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