One of the write-ups at one of the stations of the cross in Graceview’s Maundy Thursday prayer vigil, had a line that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. It was once Jesus had been nailed to the cross, it said: the cross is his pulpit now.

And at first I didn’t quite get it. But when I got back into my my car, this song by Andrew Peterson began to play:

Last Words (Tenebrae)

And as the last words of Jesus washed over me in song, I thought, “Oh, the cross is his pulpit and these words are his sermon.”

Even as he died a painful, public, torturous death, Jesus spoke words that showed who he was.

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

“Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:34)

These two show us his mercy – that he would extend forgiveness and comfort even here, even under these circumstances.

“Behold your mother, behold your son” John 19:27

“I thirst.” John 19:28

These two show us his humanity – he knew that John and Mary would need each other throughout the years after his death. He knew what it was to have family, to need family, and so he commands that they be family to each other. And then those two simple words – I thirst. Because having gone through the trauma his very human body needed hydration.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

This one shows the lengths that love will go to – even so far that Jesus would willingly be split from God the Father, a part of himself, one with whom he had the closest of relationships since before the dawn of time, if that’s what it took to win forgiveness for the human race.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46

“It is finished.” John 19:30

These two show his commitment, the sense of relief that he has been able to stay the course. To do what must be done. To see it through.

As horrible as the events of this day were, God worked it together for the good of humanity.

I am humbled. And I am more thankful than words could express.

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