Today’s Reading: John 18:1 – 19:42
“So he delivered Him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross to the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.” – John 19:16-17
Our Lord Jesus Christ offers no complaint as He is arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. He willingly stands before the band of soldiers, before Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and the jeering throng as it shouts, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” A notorious criminal, Barabbas, is released and the sinless Savior is sentenced to death. Jesus is scourged and the lashes of the whip shred His holy back. The Lord is slapped, spat upon, and is commanded to carry His cross to Calvary. No complaint comes from His holy lips. Bloody and broken Jesus goes to the cross for us, each step taken in boundless love. The cross was our Lord’s place, not an ornate garden or a palace with fine linens and golden goblets. Christ is the One who came to die. Upon the cross, Jesus opens His arms to receive God’s wrath and to take upon Himself the sin of the world. Such ardent love for us as we remember that we are each named Barabbas. How so? Are we not all notorious sinners? Indeed, and we deserve only death and hell on account of our sins. In God’s love for us, Christ takes our place. Christ willingly suffers, and we are sheltered. Christ willingly dies, and we live. He is wounded, and we are healed. He is declared guilty, and we are declared righteous. He goes to the place of death, and we by grace enter the mansions of heaven.
“Forgiven,” cries out the cross. ”Forgiven,” cries out God’s Holy Word. “Forgiven,” cries out the font. “Forgiven,” cries out the altar. “Forgiven,” cries out each drop of Christ’s reconciling blood. That which Christ did not deserve, He took for us. That which we do not deserve, He lovingly gave to us. May our comfort in life and death be—Christ crucified.
Prayer: In silent pain the eternal Son hangs derelict and still; In darkened day His work is done, Fulfilled His Father’s will. Uplifted for the world to see He hangs in strangest victory, For in His body on the tree He carries all our ill. (In Silent Pain the Eternal Son, LSB 432:1).
This devotion was written by Rev. Kristian Kincaid – Pastor of Our Redeemer in Dubuque.