Standing by the Cross

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).

When we read about Jesus on the cross, we do so from different vantage points. We look at Him as a bystander. We imagine ourselves as one of the thousands gathered at Passover that sort of stumbled on the events of the crucifixion. We wonder why this man was put to a horrible death and why all the fuss. We also look at Him as perpetrators. When we reflect on the meaning of the cross, we know that we put Him on the cross because of our sin. Finally, we look upon Him as beneficiaries. When we see Him, we see more than a victim of a cruel mob. We see the Savior of our souls, the One who died for us. We witness the greatest display of love the world ever saw.

Each time we take communion, we pass through similar emotions. We see the bread and think of the beaten and bruised body of Christ given for us. In the cup, we see the shed blood poured out for our salvation. But we also see love and experience true fellowship, or communion. Jesus said that we will drink it again with Him in His kingdom:

“I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:29).

Some who stood by Jesus at His crucifixion truly loved Him, as we see in our opening verse. Even then we experience mixed emotions. A part of us wants to rescue Jesus from His awful fate, or die trying. But our better judgment prevails: Jesus had to die, or none of us could be saved.

Try to imagine the Father’s thoughts about giving up His only Son. Of course, God’s ways are above ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and He does not experience emotions the way humans do. But He does love His Son and gave Him up at great cost. Each time we reflect on this, we should offer up to God our sincere thanksgiving.

When we contemplate the cross and all the events of Passion Week, we need to pause and praise God for His marvelous love and deep sacrifice. We also need to walk worthy of the calling God gave to us (Ephesians 4:1).

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