the calvary cross

  • When you feel alone, unwanted, or unlovable, please remember that the way this world treats you and makes you feel is far from truth. Jesus sees you and claims you as His own. He sees the parts that you hate about yourself and still chooses you everyday. Our God created you so He could love you every moment. You're so much more.
When Jesus died on the cross the mercy of God did not become any greater. It could not become any greater, for it was already infinite. We get the odd notion that God is showing mercy because Jesus died. No - Jesus died because God is showing mercy. It was the mercy of God that gave us Calvary, not Calvary that gave us mercy. If God had not been merciful there would have been no incarnation, no babe in the manger, no man on a cross and no open tomb.
—  A. W. Tozer
The Hourly Events of the Passion
  • 7pm: Jesus washes the feet of the Apostles.
  • 8pm: Last Supper and institution of the Holy Eucharist.
  • 9pm: Jesus preaches his last discourse of love and makes His prayer for the union of His disciples
  • 10pm: Prayer in Gethsemani. The Agony.
  • 11pm: Jesus is arrested and brought to Jesusalem.
  • 12am: Before Annas and Caiphas. First trial before the Sanhedrin.
  • 1am: The denial of Peter. Jesus is imprisoned until morning.
  • 5am: Jesus is struck and insulted in prison
  • 6am: Jesus placed before false witnesses; affirms His Divinity. He is condemned as a blasphemer - worthy of death.
  • 7am: Jesus in the Pretorium. He declares to Pontius Pilate that He is a King.
  • 8am: Jesus in the palace of Herod. He is treated like a fool and is despised.
  • 9am: Barabbas is preferred over Jesus. The scourging.
  • 10am: Jesus is crowned with thorns and is condemned to death.
  • 11am: Jesus carries His Cross to Calvary.
  • 12pm: Jesus is stripped of His garments and nailed to the Cross which is raised and set in place.
  • 1pm: Jesus forgives His enemies and opens the Gates of Paradise to the Good Thief.
  • 2pm: Jesus leaves His Mother to be our Mother.
  • 3pm: Jesus dies on the Cross.
  • 4pm: The Heart of Jesus is pierced by a spear.
  • 5pm: Jesus is put in the arms of His Mother, and is buried.
  • 6pm: The desolation and solitude of the Mother of God.

“The poor you have always with you” (Jn 12:8). And yet it is rather easy to look at the derelict poor and consider self-inflicted the scars from alcohol and drugs that mar their faces—easy to harbour disdain for their indecency. But then surely we sometimes miss a lonely man’s eyes looking up in a wish that his face will not provoke this time a glance of revulsion. And perhaps the same look of these eyes was also in the eyes of Jesus as He carried the cross to Calvary.

—Father Donald Haggerty, Contemplative Provocations

Image: detail of Christ Carrying the Cross by Titian.

I ask you, dear Christian friends, to come nearer to the blood Jesus shed on the Cross this morning than ever you have been. Think over the great truth of substitution. Portray to yourself the sufferings of the Savior. Dwell in His sight, sit at the foot of Calvary, abide in the presence of His Cross, and never turn away from that great spectacle of mercy and of misery. Come to it; be not afraid. You sinners, who have never trusted Jesus, look here and live! May you come to Him now.
—  Charles Spurgeon
Man makes himself God through pride, God makes Himself man through humility! Man falsely attributes to himself what belongs to God; and God, in order to teach him to humble himself, takes what belongs to man. This is the remedy for insolence! This alone can confound the honour of the world—that Hill of Calvary, that Cross of Shame, Jesus Christ the Incarnate God, our Pattern, our Master, our King.
—  Jacques Bossuet 

If you knew you were about to die a painful, torturous death, when the time came, would you willingly follow through? This is the reality of what our Savior did for us on Calvary’s cross. Jesus already knew that He was going to be killed (Mark 10:33-34), and yet still, He followed through. Yet still, He continued all the way until “it is finished.” : When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. - John 19:30

We now know that on the other side of the crucifixion, there was the glorious Resurrection because on the third day, Jesus rose again, but it wasn’t without what Jesus already knew: first, He would die a painful, gruesome death as innocent man. Flogged, mocked, beaten, and treated like anything but the Son of God that He was. He would do that, because He loved us.

Let us not forget that Jesus chose to follow through, even though He knew what was lying ahead. That’s how much He loved us, and may we live our lives as a reflection of knowing this truth.

Written by @morganhnichols for #TheDevoCo

3 Things We Miss at Easter

Easter has always been my favorite holiday, even as a kid. I know most children love waking up and getting presents, but something about finding eggs and getting chocolate was just as appealing to me. Not to mention, most of the CD’s, DVD’s, or video games I wanted fit into a Easter basket…so there was always hope (not that I was spoiled). But, the secular aside, I still find that people who come to church on Easter Sunday, overjoyed and shouting “Christ is Risen” (and indeed He has, I am not suggesting we forget that or lose any joy) miss out on 3 things at Easter time.

1. The crucifixion

A lot of us sum up Good Friday, the day on which Christ died, with a statement simply saying that. “Jesus died for our sins”. It becomes so plain, simple, and matter of fact. We forget that before that, he was scourged. A whip with bones or pieces of metal on the end, was dug into his flesh, ripping it out, over, and over, and over. He had a robe draped over that raw flesh, a thorny crown (not small rose bush thorns) pressed into his forehead, and was mocked. Then, beyond tired and weak already, He carried that cross to Calvary and had nails driven through the nerves on His wrist. Stretched out, it became difficult to breath, so Jesus had to push up on His feet, each time, His raw back scraping on the wooden beams, tearing the already torn flesh. He was mocked, probably spit upon and cursed. His friends has abandoned Him and His mother was forced to watch her first born die.

We sum it all up with “Jesus died” and we push to the back of our minds that this was an R-rated murder. I don’t want to be gruesome, but by lessening the death of Christ we are also denying the harshness of the punishment we deserve. That was supposed to be us on those beams, struggling for breath, dripping blood, mocked and scorned. Jesus took all of that for someone He loved: us.

2. The 2nd Day

“On the Third Day He rose” is a line we all know. The way they calculate time puts the crucifixion on the “First Day” and the resurrection on the “Third Day”, but we don’t talk much about that second day. We know from the Gospels that when Jesus appeared to the disciples, they were locked up, hiding, behind closed doors. What were they feeling on that day? Fear for their lives that the same people who killed their teacher would come for them. Disappointment that the Messiah they followed couldn’t have truly been who He said He was if He died. We call Thomas “the doubter” but were any of the others much different in that middle day? We don’t have evidence that any of them rallied. And would we be any different?

The 2nd day points out how desperately we fall apart without God. The disciples had been spoken to about Jesus’ death, but they didn’t fully trust Him. So often we too lack trust, despite the promises made to us by God in His word. Let’s not skip over Saturday. It reminds us that we have a God who gives us hope with all hope is lost. He is an endless fountain of hope in the driest of times.

3. The 2nd Resurrection

Isn’t it weird that the Bible doesn’t end with the resurrection of Christ? Oh, don’t get me wrong, it ends with a resurrection. The resurrection of the dead and a new creation. But, for the story of Easter, there is so much more than an empty tomb. There is a church and a mission.

Matthew 28:16 - 20 -  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The story is not over. Yes, Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” and yes, He did pay the price for our sin in full. But there will come a day when He brings the good work that was started in us to completion. It doesn’t end once the Easter candy has been devoured or all the eggs have been found. It ends upon the return of Christ, when every knee shall bow. Until then, we have a job to let everyone know about how Christ came, died, rose, and will be back one day, and the hope that gives us.

The cross crushes us, the tomb makes us be patient, and the resurrection points us to thee restoration of the full kingdom of God. There is so much joy in Easter. I don’t want to take any of that away from you. But when you understand the before and after, the need for a savior and the hope of redemption, it makes all chocolate bunnies pale in comparison to the hope that is in Jesus.