7 Days of Prayer – Day 5  – The Cross

Lord Jesus, let the reality of Your suffering on the cross and the true meaning of Your sacrifice impact my head and my heart in a fresh and disruptive way as I pray now.

Pause and pray

We are now going to read the whole account of Christ’s trial, torture and death from Matthew 27, pausing to reflect on each of its five tragic scenes.

Read: Matthew 27:11–26

The chief priests and elders are angry. The crowd is baying for blood. Pilate is in complete turmoil. Even his wife is alarmed and anxious. Only Jesus seems calm at the centre of the storm: He ‘kept silence—not a word from his mouth. The governor was impressed, really impressed.’ (Matt 27:14 MSG) He refuses to say a single word to get Himself off the hook. How is this possible?

The previous night, at the Last Supper, Jesus had predicted this. Then, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He had surrendered to the Father’s will. Jesus is acting, not reacting because He has prepared Himself in prayer. He is resolute, grimly peaceful, in control.

It’s interesting that the very first person for whom Jesus dies is not you or me or the thief on the cross. He dies first for a murderous, radicalised terrorist whose name is ‘Jesus Barabbas’, which literally means ‘Jesus son of the father’. Jesus, the perfect Son of God, dies for Jesus, the sinful son of another father.

Read: Matthew 27:27–31

Jesus has been severely whipped with a Roman flagellum made from strips of leather, embedded with pieces of bone to maximise pain. His clothes are soaked in blood as they are pulled from His back.

Where do I stand in the crowd? Am I protesting? Silently observing? Joining in?

Pause and pray

Read: Matthew 27:32–44

Do I hear the noise? The shouting and screaming?

Every person in this account is yelling and sneering at Jesus – religious leaders, passers-by, the criminals by His side. Yet Jesus refuses to drink the mild anaesthetic; He remains in control. They drive nails through His wrists, through His feet and hoist Him aloft. His body is contorting, He is gasping for breath, agony is pulsing from limb to limb in great jarring bursts of pain.

Pause and pray

Read: Matthew 27:45–54

Finally, we hear Him. The one who did not lift His voice before Pilate, and would not take the wine, cries out in utter despair: ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ (Matt 27:46 NLT)

Martin Luther says of this moment that it is as though Christ Himself has become the atheist. The Son has been abandoned by His Father. His desolation is complete. And in this state, with these words, the Saviour dies.

I am horrified, Lord, that you endured all of this for me. It breaks my heart. You were forsaken so that I need never be forsaken. And You promise never to leave me, never to forsake me, always to be with me, even in my very darkest hour.

Pause and pray

Read: Matthew 27:57–60

Joseph’s act of worship, while poignant, must have seemed a little pointless at the time. Too little too late. The honouring of a mere corpse. My worship can often feel like that. My words of gratitude seem totally inadequate. Too little, much too late.

But Lord, with all my heart, I do want to honour Your death today. Thank You for paying this terrible price for me. I pray that the message of the cross would be preached with power all around the world today. May millions of people understand – some for the first time – that the only good thing about Good Friday is You.


Continue to pray as you listen to “The Power of the Cross” by Casting Crowns

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *