每日诗歌: 古旧十架 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clXLW2fFppg)
Ezra 1 [Read]
Ezra 2 [Read]
John 19:23-42 [Read]
2013 is the 100th anniversary of the beloved gospel song “The Old Rugged Cross”. This old favorite has won many over to Christ, and it has also provided much needed encouragement to many weary pilgrims including me. The song does not fantasize the intimacy between God and believers like many of the contemporary praise songs do, and it does not preach a message of prosperity like some of the popular speakers do. It simply puts the focus on the truly important thing of our faith – the old rugged cross.
Unlike the crucifixion narrative in the other three gospels, the Jesus in the book of John seemed to be very calm going through this painful ordeal of crucifixion. There was no shouting at the end, no citing of the desperate cry of David from Ps 22:1, and no darkening of the sky. He simply went to Calvary with a clear purpose in mind, and he uttered that last words “It is finished!” when it’s all done (Jn 19:30). Jesus in John was sent by the Father for a mission, and he walked toward the end of that mission with calmness and submission.
However, we should not let such portrayal of the crucifixion blind us from the pain and suffering hidden in the seemingly plain words. Though he might have some help for part of the journey (Lk 23:26), Jesus carried his own cross to the place of the Skull (19:17). Anyone who has done some yard work would know how heavy it is for a piece of wood that big, and Jesus had already been tortured through the previous night. Furthermore, the pain of being nailed onto the cross must have been excruciating. However, the physical pain was probably negligible when compared to the heartache of seeing only a few women stood by him at the end. Jesus died suffering great pain. But worst of all, he died alone.
“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain”. Does your heart ache or your eyes well up when you sing these words? If not, I suggest you go back and read the crucifixion narrative again. This time, read it with the song playing in your head. You will then discover the amazing healing power of God’s word.
Keep on reading,