Have you ever followed Jesus up Golgotha’s hill? Have you ever walked behind his broken, bleeding body, traced the jagged lines cut in him by the whips, and wept at his pain? Have you ever cringed at the weight of the cross he bore as he slowly stumbled up to the brow? Have you ever closed your eyes and clenched your teeth tightly against the blows of the heavy hammer that drove thick nails through his hands and his feet? Have you ever watched them hoist your bleeding Lord above the jeering, mocking crowd?
Did you ever stand weeping while the soldiers mocked his faltering breaths? Did you hear them bartering for his clothes? Did you hold his grieving mother as she wailed for her son? Did you stand under the flickering of torches in a strange midday darkness, listening for his moans to indicate he was still alive? Did you hear him say it? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?”
Did you brace yourself against the chilly wind of that awful black day, when darkness hovered so close to the ground, waiting pensively for his last breath? Did you raise your face to him and weep? Did you hear him cry out in anguish, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?!” Did you listen to the stillness afterward, right before he breathed his last? When his chin fell forward, finally giving way to death, did you groan inwardly?
Have you been crucified with Christ?
I just crucified Jesus. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done. I can’t do anything but cry. I have killed my Lord and my God. I have walked with him up Calvary’s hill, being both the soldier and the friend, and I have watched myself crucify Jesus. I watched him suffer under my heartless torment, devised by the wickedness in my own heart. I stood at his feet and simultaneously wept and jeered. I was both of them, the good and the bad. I heard him say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” My heart fought with the sword meant to pierce me through. Thank God for prevailing! I watched his last breath, felt the anguish of his soul when he cried out in my place, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” His question unanswered, he breathed his last. I WATCHED HIM DIE!
The words of Thomas echo in me, “Let us go too, that we may die with him.” Because Jesus calls me friend. Just like Thomas at the thought of losing Lazarus, my heart is rent and I can’t leave him here. How can I walk away from him, my best friend, bloody and torn upon that cross? Instead, let me die here. Let me die here with him, my soul’s lover. My husband. My savior. My King. My God.
If I must get up, if I must continue to live here, let it be only because of the risen Christ within me. “For I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live. Not I, but Christ that lives within me.” Because I can’t bear to do this again. Knowing that I have crucified him myself with my sin. With my silence. To see myself standing there, clothed, before a naked Christ. Undeserving yet fully forgiven. I am unworthy!