Stations of the Cross: 6

Station 6: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Mark 15:23-32

The Crucifixion

23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour[d] when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.[e] 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

Jesus, I do not want to see this.  Yet I force myself to watch in my mind’s eye. I hear the sharp crack of hammer against nail and shudder. It sounds so final. Is it over? Did all those wonderful lessons you taught by the seaside mean anything?

You spoke of being a light to the world, but it seems that darkness is winning.

How they mocked you! You said you could rebuild the temple in three days. Surely anyone with the power to raise the dead could deal with broken stones. But it was not the stones in the temple that mattered to you, was it? Your greater concern was how we relate to you and to one another. You want us to know the power of living love. Was love stronger than the evil that surrounded you?

I want to rage at the injustice of it all.

The cruelty of the Romans. The hypocrisy of the High Priest and religious leaders. The cowardice of the disciples. The treachery of Judas.  The fickleness of the crowds. Why didn’t they remember you spoke of loving one another, of bearing the burdens of others, even of loving our enemies? They should have known better, they should have listened and learned.

And yet, would I have done differently?

Is the guilt just of those who drove the nails and the rest of us are innocent? Or is it human sin that drove the nails? My sin. The old American spiritual asks the question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I want to deny it. I want to pretend that it is someone else’s guilt, someone else’s sin.

But I was there. It was I who drove the nails.

Prayer: O Lord, remind me of the deathly cost of sin. Forgive me for those things I have done that are displeasing to you. Forgive me for not allowing you to deal with the darkness that I harbor in the hidden recesses of my heart. Forgive me for fooling myself into believing that I am more righteous than I am, that I am better than others, and that I have no need to repent. Forgive me for those things I should have done, but found excuses not to do. O Lord, make me better than I am, transform me into what I can be by your grace.

Song of Worship: Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross with Here I Am to Worship

Jesus, keep me near the Cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all — a healing stream —
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning Star
Shed its beams around me.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
*Portions of the text have been adapted from public domain guides from across multiple denominations.

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