Day 213: August 1, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 27:35-44
35 After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. 37 Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39  Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads 40  and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now —if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.

Mark 15:24-32
24 Then they crucified Him and divided His clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get. 25 Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified Him. 26 The inscription of the charge written against Him was: THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 They crucified two criminals with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [28 So the Scripture was fulfilled that says: And He was counted among outlaws.] 29 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, 30 save Yourself by coming down from the cross!” 31 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! 32 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.

Luke 23:33b-43
33 …they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”] And they divided His clothes and cast lots. 35 The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine 37 and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 An inscription was above Him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

John 19:18b-27
18 …one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had a sign lettered and put on the cross. The inscription was: JESUS THE NAZARENE THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” They did this to fulfill the Scripture that says: They divided My clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for My clothing. And this is what the soldiers did. 25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there, He said to His mother, “Woman , here is your son.” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Then they crucified Him and divided His clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get.
—Mark 15:24

We Were There
by Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

“Then they crucified Him...”

These four words are so few that they barely give us time to meditate on their significance and implications.

Crucifixion was one of the worst forms of execution ever invented by humans. Jesus’ feet would have been nailed together at the bottom of a pole, and His wrists nailed to a crossbeam.

One can only imagine the excruciating pain. Crucifixion involved prolonged suffering for up to several days. It usually ended in asphyxiation since the victim eventually became too weak to lift his head to gasp for air (New American Commentary: Matthew, Craig Blomberg). 

And what’s the cause of such horrific suffering? To blame the Jewish leaders, Herod, or Pilate misses the point. In The Cross of Christ (page 59), John Stott offers the following insights:

“The blaming of the Jewish people for the crucifixion of Jesus is extremely unfashionable today. Indeed, if it is used as a justification for slandering and persecuting the Jews (as it has been in the past), or for anti-Semitism, it is absolutely indefensible.

The way to avoid anti-Semitism prejudice, however, is not to pretend that the Jews were innocent, but, having admitted their guilt, to add that others shared in it. This was how the apostles saw it. Herod and Pilate, Gentiles and Jews, they said, had together ‘conspired against Jesus’ (Acts 4:27). 

More important still, we ourselves are also guilty. If we were in their place, we would have done what they did. Indeed, we have done it. For whenever we turn away from Christ, we ‘are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace’ (Hebrews 6:6). We too sacrifice Jesus to our greed like Judas, to our envy like the priests, to our ambition like Pilate. 

‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, ‘Yes, we were there.’ Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining, and handing him over to be crucified.

We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. Fore there is blood on our hands. Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance).”

Reflection Questions

  1. How does the cross of Christ lead you to sober reflection and repentance today, because it’s something done by you? Voice this in a prayer.
  2. How does the cross of Christ lead you to faith and worship, because it’s something done for you? Voice this in a prayer.
  3. “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). How does the sinless Jesus become sin for us? Whose sin did He take up on the cross? How was He your substitute?
  4. This same verse says that we “become the righteousness of God in Him.” How does this happen? What allows us to be righteous?
  5. In Galatians 2:19-20, Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” What role does the cross of Christ play in your life today?

About the Author

Roger Severino

Since 2004, Roger has served on staff with Brentwood Baptist. Currently, he’s the Adult Minister – Leadership in the Discipleship Ministry.

Roger is married to Mary Anne, and they have three children: Stephen, Kelly, and Jake. When he’s not at work, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family, listening to music, reading and learning, going to his kids’ sports games, and traveling. He’s done an educational tour of Israel and hopes to someday follow Paul’s missionary travels through modern-day Turkey and Greece.