August 27, 2023

This Sunday we finally come to the moment for which Jesus had “set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).” Death on a Roman cross, an instrument of execution as horrific as any the evil hearts of men have ever designed. And yet, later Paul wrote this about the gruesome torture device Jesus died upon.

“Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).”

What our Savior endured there and why he endured it ought to elicit our deepest gratitude and affection and love. It ought to become our great boast. And yet we can grow so familiar with the story of the cross that it can lose its profound impact upon us. Which is why, I suspect, the Victorian era poet, Christina Rosetti, wrote this poem.

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

No so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter, weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon–
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

We will see those lamenting women and that thief so moved in Luke’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion. We will observe the shame and public humiliation hurled at Him as he gave His life as a ransom.

This Sunday Erik Thoennes will be preaching Luke 23:16-43 and Walt Harrah will be leading our sung worship. Would you take time to read this passage and pray for each as they prepare? And let’s pray for one another that, just as this poet prayed, God would use this passage to smite any stoniness of heart we may have and help us feel afresh the wonder and amazement of what our redemption cost.

See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!


Last Words (Tenebrae) by Andrew Peterson

Note: This song is a beautiful and haunting rendition of Jesus’ last words from the cross. While our passage in Luke this Sunday contains just one of them, his assurance to the penitent thief that he would be with him in paradise, this is a wonderful song to help prepare your heart for worship this Sunday.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do
Forgive them, they know not what they do

Today you will be with me in Paradise
You will be with me today

Behold your son, behold your mother, behold your son…

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why have you forsaken me?

I thirst, I thirst…
It is finished, it is finished…

Father, into your hands, into your hands
I commit my spirit