by Dorothy Nimchuk
Jesus had been the central figure in the kangaroo court charade. Now, nailed to the cross, in the midst of untold pain, He viewed the gathered crowd.
The chief priests and elders had been quick to mock: “He saved others. If He is truly the Son of God, let Him save Himself and come down from the cross.” They rejoiced in that they were finally rid of this thorn in their side, this man who claimed divinity yet spoke contrary to their precious traditions. Later, they were not above paying a hefty bribe to the soldiers to avow that the body of Jesus had been stolen by the disciples.
There were those who rejoiced to see His end; others were distressed at the proceedings. The disciples, having fled at His arrest out of fear for their lives, had come back to watch helplessly, perhaps pondering their own fate.
Mary had been one of Jesus’ staunchest supporters throughout His ministry. At His feet, she mourned as only a mother could mourn for her condemned son. In the midst of His pain, Jesus committed her to the care of John, His beloved disciple.
Jesus prayed for forgiveness for those who had nailed Him to the cross, those who were unaware that by so doing, they were fulfilling prophecy. Jesus noted the soldier who had won the toss for His seamless robe. Would the significance of the occasion prick his consciousness and change his life? What of Barabbas, who had been released at the feast instead of Jesus? Did he return to a life of crime, or was he forever changed by events that led to his release?
Jesus’ thoughts may have turned to Judas, one of His chosen — pretender, thief, and betrayer. Blinded by greed, possibly thinking Jesus would rise up and fight against His enemies, Judas realized the enormity of his deed, returned the money, and took his own life.
Some people mocked, seeing only a charlatan who had tried to hoodwink the common folks. Many had witnessed healings performed by Jesus, hung on His words, and were part of the miraculous feeding of thousands — so much from so little. Perhaps they thought this the end of a beautiful dream, their hopes shattered. The robbers impaled on either side of Him added their own particular insults.
Jesus spoke His last words, the temple veil ripped top to bottom, and a mighty quake shook the earth, to the amazement of the centurion and guards: “Truly this was the Son of God!”
When we think of the cross, what do we see? How does it affect us? What does Jesus’ dying signify for us? Is He looking at us with sadness, knowing we’ve refused His great gift? Do we visualize a Savior who gave His life for us, or does His sacrifice fail to impact us? What will we do with Jesus?
When He looks at us, what does He see?
Dorothy Nimchuk and her husband, Nick (retired pastor), are isolated CoG7 members in Medicine Hat, Alberta.