These final hours can be taken in from an overwhelming amount of perspectives. Each one offers insight into into the meaning of Jesus Christ crucified. Consider the crowds, who days ago were enthusiastically welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. Consider the Jewish leaders who stir up the people into bloodthirsty mob. Consider Pilate and his political maneuvering. Consider Barabbas, the violent insurrectionist who is set free instead of Jesus. Consider the soldiers who revel in humiliating and torturing Jesus. Consider the women who follow and watch Jesus every step of the way. Consider Simon of Cyrene, a bystander stopped and made to bear Jesus’ burden. Consider all the onlookers who know only rumors and half-truths about what is going on. Consider the criminals crucified on his right and left. Consider the centurion who carries out orders and is grieved to realize who Jesus truly was and is.
Consider Christ in his silent suffering and isolation. In Mark’s gospel, he says only one thing: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Consider yourself, standing before the cross where the Son of God dies.
- Read Mark 15:1–41.
- Ask God for the grace to know him more intimately, to love him more intensely, and follow him more intently.
- Choose one or a few of the characters listed above and immerse yourself in their part and perspective in the story.
- Reflect on Jesus’ pain and suffering and once again “how the divinity hides itself.” Why doesn’t he do as the people are taunting him—come down and show his power? Why is this how God accomplishes the redemption of the world? Meditate on this paradox of horror and beauty, hated and love, evil and goodness.
- Have a conversation with Jesus as he dies on the cross. What do you want to say to him or ask him? Also ask yourself these questions:
- What have I done for Christ?
- What am I doing for Christ?
- What should I do for Christ?
About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Associate Minister at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta, GA and the former Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC.