The Crucifixion

Today's Bible reading: John 19:3-37

Each Gospel relates the same essentials of Jesus’ actual crucifixion, but each has its own specific emphasis that we shouldn’t miss.  Common to all accounts is the fact that Jesus here fulfills the Scripture.  Matthew and Mark stress the mockery of the crowds and the complete desolation of Jesus as He cries out in loneliness: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  Matthew also reports the tearing of the veil in the Temple … and the opening of the tombs in Jerusalem – the old worship is over … new life is being created through His death!  St. Luke dwells on the words between Jesus and the two thieves on either side of Him.  Jesus’ words to the thief who repents gives the meaning of His death in a nutshell: the death of Jesus means the opening of paradise to repentant sinners.

But it is St. John - in his account - who, arguably, gives us the greatest passion portrait.  Jesus is in lordly control of every moment on the cross.  He dies as the sinless Son of God … as the King of gloryglory as revealed precisely on the throne of the cross.  He is also the perfect Passover lamb whose bones are not broken.  As befits a king, Jesus is buried in a special tomb that has never been used before.  Even the amount of ointments points to the truth that here is no ordinary corpse.

Prayer: Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe.  You have poured out upon us Your never-ending love by giving your Son, Jesus Christ, into death on the cross for us.  Give us grace to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Strengthen the ministry of Your Church to bring Jesus’ love to all those for whom He died.  For He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.