“Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. ” (John 19:16–30, NIV)Humanity is represented at the foot of the cross. Ardent enemies, uninterested bystanders, those who were intrigued because of what they could gain and those who loved Him with all their heart. Within one of these groups we find ourselves.
The chief priests wanted nothing to do with Jesus. They didn’t even like the sign Pilate put in place because it tied the Jews to Jesus. The reason for having Him killed was to eliminate this association. He was a distraction to their lifestyle and the success they were striving for in the world. Even today, the name of Christ is shunned by many. He still disrupts the lifestyle and conscience of those who want to make their own way. Jesus is a stumbling block that exposes their guilt and it would be better for them if He was all together eliminated.
Still others would not go as far as to eliminate Him, they just barely notice He is there. It’s hard to miss His message and influence in the world but if you can become busy enough with other things, you can simply take a glance and keep on walking. Don’t stop to look because then you’ll start to think. Just keep walking and pretend He isn’t there.
Or maybe you are like the soldiers who took the time to pay attention. You listened to what He had to say including the offer of salvation He gave to the thief on the cross. “It’s all very interesting, but what’s in it for me.” His clothes are nice enough and probably worth something. The guy is practically a rock star and so at least I can say I have His robe. Perhaps you too follow Jesus for what you can gain from Him with no regard to what you must first receive. You like all the miracles and the blessings but yet you are unwilling to deny yourself and follow Him.
But only those who love Him know what it means to be loved by Him. They are the ones who understand that the man hanging on the cross is there so that you don’t have to be. He paid the penalty for your sin and the only right response to this sacrifice of love is humble worship and adoration. A surrendered life to He who surrendered His life.
Which one are you? Humanity is represented at the foot of the cross. Where do you stand?