Jesus under Attack: the way of the Cross and Death
The final moment of Jesus were filled with rejection.
In this version from the Gospel of Mark there are no consoling moments with his women followers or with the Beloved Disciple and Mary;
there is no repentant thief.
Jesus faces his end with an unclouded mind,
without the help of the numbing wine and myrrh.
Jesus feels abandoned, even by God.
There are only the merest hints that something more than an ordinary every day Roman crucifixion is happening here.
The man forced to help Jesus with the cross is known to the Gospel writer along with his two sons.
Does this imply that he later became a follower of Christ?
The veil of the Temple, that shields the Holy of Holies, is torn in two.
And the, presumably gentile, Roman centurian recognised Jesus as God’s son, in his dying moment.
What might have caused such recognition?
Preparation: Begin by stilling, then dedicating the time of prayer to God and asking God that all you think, feel and imagine are for the glory of God.
Gift: Ask for what you desire. Suggestion: That I may enter into the feelings of the rejected Christ in his last moments.
Setting: I imagine myself on the way of the Cross, maybe as Simon, the Roman Centurian, or one of his followers, or even as one of those who is persecuting him.
Mark 15:21-39 (HCSB)
They forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by,
to carry Jesus’ cross.
He was Simon, a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus.
And they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place).
They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it.
Then they crucified Him and divided His clothes,
casting lots for them to decide what each would get.
Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified Him.
The inscription of the charge written against Him was:
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
They crucified two criminals with Him, one on His right and one on His left.
[So the Scripture was fulfilled that says: And He was counted among outlaws.]
Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads, and saying,
“Ha! The One who would demolish the sanctuary and build it in three days,
save Yourself by coming down from the cross!”
In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking Him to one another and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself!
Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross,
so that we may see and believe.”
Even those who were crucified with Him were taunting Him.
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon
and at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?”
which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
When some of those standing there heard this, they said,
“Look, He’s calling for Elijah!”
Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, offered Him a drink,
and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down!”
But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last.
Then the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him,
saw the way He breathed His last,
he said, “This man really was God’s Son!”
Conversation: Talk to Jesus or one of those following along the way.
What might you want to say?
How do you imagine they might reply to you?
Final Prayer: End with a formal prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.
Today’s Music: Pie Jesu, written and conducted by John Rutter sung by Alice Halstead
For more music from John Rutter. (Requiem is on the Visions and Requiem CD)
Your Next Move
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