Today’s Reading: Luke 23:11-12 NIV
11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked [Jesus]. Dressing Him in an elegant robe, they sent Him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies.
Luke 23:11-12 The Message
11-12Mightily offended, Herod turned on Jesus. His soldiers joined in, taunting and jeering. Then they dressed him up in an elaborate king costume and sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became thick as thieves. Always before they had kept their distance.
It was hard to breathe last night, sitting in a darkened sanctuary, listening to the pounding of stakes into the three wooden crosses at the altar. The pastor invited us to come forward, pick up a stake and hammer, and nail our sin to the tree. As I looked up toward the ceiling, I saw the gruesome scene in shadows on the ceiling. There, the crosses loomed and I watched as people pounded their sins into the tree. The noise was deafening; you couldn’t escape it. It was as if I could smell the stench of blood and vomit floating in the air; I could hear the screams of the people and the unending suffering of one sinless man. There was a lot at stake the day Christ carried the sins of the world on the cross at Calvary.
I saw the tears and heard the weeping all around me. It echoed like a sad song throughout the sanctuary. A young mother sat quietly to my left. The tears rolled down her cheeks faster than she could wipe them. I am certain she was thinking about her little boys, and what it must have been like for Jesus’ mother Mary, to live through that awful, wondrous day. I couldn’t help but think about my children and grandchildren, praying that they would nail their sins to the cross and find complete wholeness and forgiveness, covered in the precious blood of the Lamb. For all mothers everywhere, there is a lot at stake this Holy week.
Isn’t it ironic how two rival rulers become the best of friends by allowing the cruel death of God just to keep civil peace? Surely this would never happen again, would it… could it? The lengths we humans go to remain in the good graces of our neighbors are inexcusable, especially when it comes to sacrificing faith in trade for the popular vote. There was a lot at stake here. Two sinful men became the best of friends in their grave decision.
Jesus Christ forgave us all as the Roman guard pounded the stakes into His flesh, and left Him on a cross to die. As the Father turned away, Jesus continued to cry out, revealing His undying faith in His own dying moment. Can you imagine the cost Christ paid for your salvation? This is the moment of decision. Will you pick up a spike and hammer, and nail your sins to the tree? Your soul’s salvation is hanging in the balance.
If you have invited the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart, then I would urge you to spend this day praying for those who do not yet believe. Christ calls each and every one of us as witnesses to His death and resurrection. My friends, there is a lot at stake right now.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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