John 19:36-37 – These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced." (NIV)
In 1978, I visited Spain and toured the northern city of Bilbao. On top of a large hill, there is a beautiful cathedral. To get there, one has to climb hundreds of steps. When I reached the top of the steps, I felt as though I had accomplished something wonderful for God. As I entered the front door, I came face to face with a life-size statue of a blood-drenched Jesus on the cross. It startled me, and then I suddenly realized that I had accomplished nothing of any lasting consequence. I had climbed the stairs, but Jesus had climbed on to the cross for me.
We crucify Jesus every day. Our pride pins Him to the cross, and our anger attacks His body. Our greed gores His hands and feet, whilst our selfish ways stab His heart and stain His flesh. We make mistakes, sometimes innocently, but at other times deliberately, which molest Christ and keep Him suffering at Calvary. We break promises and hurt other people, bruising our Lord and holding Him fast to the shameful tree of Golgotha.
But there is hope, for by this horrible happening, healing comes into the world. By this grievous act of retribution, there is redemption. By this shocking sacrifice, there is salvation. We cannot pay the debt we owe to God, and without Jesus — as the Heidelberg Catechism says — we would increase our guilt every day. It is Christ's death which defeats the destruction meant for us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we cannot fully comprehend the agony and pain You suffered for us. We recognize our part in putting You in a position where only Your death could bring us life. We are sorry for the sins we have committed and the mistakes we have made. We are truly thankful for Your commitment to the cross and the perfect sacrifice which You made for us. In Your sacred name, we humbly pray. Amen.