Gospel John 18:1-19:42
So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" 22Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.' This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots." 25And that is what the soldiers did.
King of the Jews, what did that mean? Clearly to some Jesus truly let them down. Here they cheered his entrance into the city. Here they supported and encouraged him to be their King and yet they turned on him in a blink of an eye. Soon the same crowd that welcomed him screamed crucify him and sent him along the path to Golgotha carrying the weight of his own cross. What a change. There is that wonderful hymn “where were you?” I always like to think where would I have been? Who would I have been? Could I have truly been as horrible as to be one of those in the crowd? Probably, even his faithful servant Peter denied him! It is pretty easy for us to say we wouldn’t have or couldn’t have, but we know the end of the story. We know that Christ was not an earthly king but instead reigns in the Kingdom of God. We know that through his resurrection death was conquered. Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for this and yet when the time came, they struggled. What are we struggling with today? Perhaps God has prepared you for this in ways you don’t see, be open to when struggles come your way to how God did prepare you for it. Trust that although you may not know your future or the ending of your story – God does!
Spend the day eating meagerly. This is not fasting, this is eating mindfully until you are full and not indulgencing in extras – sweats and fats. At some point eat some bread but be mindful in doing so of Jesus’ last supper and communion at church. Think about how the “bread of life” continues to nourish us and sustain us. God doesn’t promise a banquet of the most expensive foods (think about the exodus and all the manna) but Jesus does state that with his bread we will never go hungry. Praise God that our faith can sustain us, even when we don’t know the end of our story!
Prayer:Gracious Redeemer, be with us this day as we continue to remember your death. Although we know the ending of your story, remind us of the weight of that cross you bore and the hunger we have for our Spiritual growth. Provide for us the strength to trust that you are all we need. Amen.