Day One: That We May See And Believe
26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. 28, 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him, those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Today there are still many who “passed by” Jesus, they do not want to have anything to do with Christianity; many “priests and teachers of the law”, they are the self-righteous religious leaders, moralists, scientists, philosophers; and also those who are wicked and “crucified with him”, aren’t they also mocking the Christ when they say “Let this Jesus perform a miracle, that we may see and believe.” Aren’t we also like them in the past, mocking the Christians in the same way, challenging the power of God with our foolish pride?
“He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
O How merciful God is towards me! For He did not count the debt of my transgression on me but He counted it all on Jesus!
The notice of the charge was placed at the top of the cross over the head of the criminal. Jesus’ charge was written in three languages (John 19:20). The gospel of Matthew recorded the Aramaic wordings of the charge, the gospels of Mark and Luke recorded the Latin wordings, and the gospel of John Greek. This explains why the four gospels had slight variations in the description of the charge, but they all factually recorded the charge that was written and hung above the head of the Lord Jesus – the king of the jews.
But in the hearts of the Jews, the real charge was — he said he is the Son of God.
Whether he is the king of the Jews, or the Son of God, the identity of the Lord Jesus had become the charge against him! Isn’t this how it was in the parable of the tenants of the vineyard? The wicked tenants saw that the landlord had sent his own son, so they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.” (Matthew 21:38) In the same way, the chief priests, the Pharisees and all in the Sanhedrin said to one another, “What are we accomplishing? Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him!” (John 11:47,48)
“Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
Truly, the Son of God can come down from the cross! But Jesus knew that their hearts were just like the wicked tenants, even if they saw with their own eyes, they would not believe!
O Lord, the opposition that the world has against you has not diminished today. May the Lord increase my strength to keep God’s commands, not to be mesmerized nor captivated by the voices of this world, and most of all not to lose my purity out of lustful desire for the world!
Christians should not view Good Friday as a day of leisure, but a day of devotion and worship. In the past years, we have gathered brothers and sisters one week before Good Friday to meditate on the passion of Christ. This has always felt too hasty to commemorate the Word Incarnate and His wondrous work on the Calvary Cross.
This year, we hope to use one entire month to do it. We will read through the passion account recorded in the Gospel of Mark, beginning with Chapter 14. This was the time when Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly “in the name of the Lord”. It is also the final week before the Lord’s crucifixion.
We have a total of four booklets, one for each week; five devotion passages per week, one for each day. Each devotion is divided into four parts: scripture reading, pastoral sharing, personal reflection and prayer. You can also find a few hymns printed at the back of the booklet.
You may set aside 30 minutes each day, meditate on the given scripture passage, sing a hymn, write down your reflection, and end off with a prayer of confession and dedication. I believe your relationship with the Lord will grow deeper.
We have also dedicated four Wednesday Life Bible Study sessions that lead up to Good Friday for you to share your learnings. This way we can encourage and edify one another with our spiritual blessings.
Due to this year’s COVID-19 outbreak, many of us now have additional time to rest from work and from worldly leisure. Let us use this time to draw near to God to meditate on –
this great and mighty Saviour whose work shook the heavens and earth,
this amazing Grace which even the angels long to look into,
this Missionary for whom Abraham willingly forsake his riches and Paul willingly gave up his honoured religious position to follow,
this Word of life for which generations of godly saints before us did not hesitate to guard with their lives.
May the Lord wipe off the earthly dust which has settled on our souls, lift the fancy veil which has obscured the sight of our faith, remove the yeast of sin which has been fermenting in our lives, and spur us on to carry the cross once again to follow the Lord Jesus, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power over us.