[Listen to the sound file while you read — two inches to the right of this line on this page, marked “Aubre’s Gift”]
A Morning Devotion for Thursday of Holy Week
Preparing our hearts for Good Friday and Easter
The Savior is stripped and nailed to the cross.
Adapted from the accounts of
Ps 22:16-18 and Mt 27:35-37; Mk 15:22; Lk 23:33-35; Jn 19:20
Jesus’ humiliation is predicted and accomplished.
For dogs encompass Me;
a company of evildoers encircles Me;
they have pierced My hands and feet—
I can count all My bones—
they stare and gloat over Me;
And they brought Him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull). It was there that they crucified Him and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left. And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among them by casting lots.
Then they sat down and kept watch over Him. And over His head they put the charge against Him, which Pilate had written. It read,
“This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.
And the people stood by watching, but the rulers, the chief priests, the scribes and elders mocked and scoffed at Him, saying,
“He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, His Chosen One! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if He desires him. For he said ‘I am the Son of God.’”
A rocky place resembling a skull—that was where they took Him—to murder Him. There they continued their mockery and torture. There they nailed Him to the cross.
On either side of Him hang two known and deserving criminals. Above Him hangs a sign written in three languages,
“Jesus, King of the Jews.”
Exactly who He was.
Exactly who He claimed to be.
Exactly why He was crucified.
Even a place known for its resemblance to a skull and its associations with the Roman death machinery of the time couldn’t change the fact that He was and is the sovereign Lord of Life, the long-expected Son, the one destined to sit on King David’s throne.
The Apostle Paul was mesmerized by the image of our sins being nailed to the cross, canceling out the debt we owed by the atoning sacrifice of the Savior in our place. He penned these words to drive the significance of Christ’s sacrifice into the memory of those who believe in Him.
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses . . . God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)
They echo the prophet Isaiah’s words written eight hundred years before Christ: (Isaiah 53:6)
“All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.”
“Crucified Savior, Your arms were stretched out and nailed to a tree, but it was my sin You bore, my sin that was nailed there with You. They stole Your clothes, Your dignity, and Your life, but not Your love. You let them nail Your love to the cross. Help me to understand the depth of Your passion for me as Your child. In Your saving name, Amen.”