Wednesday of Holy Week
The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. – I Corinthians 1:18.
When the centurion who stood over against the cross of Jesus, and they that were with him, and were watching Jesus, saw that He cried out so triumphantly just before giving up the ghost, and when they saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly and glorified God, saying: “Certainly, this was a righteous man! Truly, this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47).
These people were now convinced that Jesus was innocent and that He was what He had said of Himself, under oath, before the Sanhedrin, namely, the Son of God. Beholding the things which were done, the people, who had gathered there, smote their breasts and returned (Luke 23:48). And afar off stood the acquaintances of Jesus and many women that had followed Him from Galilee, and they beheld these things. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, the mother of Zebedee’s children (James and John), who had followed Jesus when He was in Galilee, and had ministered unto Him, and many other women that had come up with Him to Jerusalem (Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:49).
These friends of Jesus beheld His cross with sadness and distress. Great temptation beset them and threatened to stifle their faith. Though in the estimation of the world, the cross of Christ would seem like a symbol of defeat and a most foolish thing to trust in, we, who have been enlightened by the Spirit of God through the Gospel, see in it the saving power of the Lord. The eyes of our faith must be directed toward our Redeemer as He hung upon the accursed tree of the cross, and rejoice in the redemption accomplished for us by Christ, as our Substitute under the wrath of God. While those who perish in unbelief despise the Gospel as foolishness, may the preaching of the cross of Christ continue to be and remain our greatest comfort in life and in death!
PRAYER. – God, Holy Ghost, working through Thy Word, let me abide with the preaching of the Cross, that my faith may remain steadfast against every temptation. For within this Word is Thy divine power, by which alone saving faith can dwell within my heart. Grant me Thy continued grace, O precious Comforter, working through Thy Gospel, that my spiritual eyes may be ever fixed upon my crucified Redeemer, and that they may continue to rest upon Him when my physical sight grows dim in my dying hour. Amen.
Be Thou my Consolation,
My Shield, when I must die;
Remind me of Thy Passion
When my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,
Upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfold Thee.
Who dieth thus, dies well!
Hymn 172, 10. [TLH]