“IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS”
Apr. 11, 2019
SCRIPTURE: John 19:24
24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
John 19:24 – … This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
It’s a grim picture—Jesus hanging on the cross, while beneath Him, several Roman soldiers gamble for His clothing. It’s tempting to condemn the soldiers for what they were doing. It’s offensive. They shouldn’t be doing that!
But from their point of view, they were only doing their jobs. They had taken three condemned men to Calvary, offered them a basic painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), nailed them up, and now there was nothing to do but watch them. The soldiers couldn’t leave till the men were dead, and that would take hours, if not days.
So they decided to divvy up Jesus’ clothes, which were their traditional right as His executioners. And when one piece was too nice to be divided by tearing, they decided to gamble for it. Hey, there was nothing else to do. Dice or cards have helped pass the time for many soldiers down through history. And there was nothing more interesting going on!
But that’s just where they were wrong. The central event of human history was taking place, right over their heads. Jesus Christ was dying for the whole human race. God was being executed—paying the price for all sin and wickedness. If the soldiers had only known!
If we had only known, we might say. Not about Jesus’ death—most of us have known that story since childhood. But if we had only known that God continues to do things right in front of our eyes—things in which we ought to be involved. We have neighbors in need—live near children in danger—have family members who are hurting or lonely or struggling. If only we had known! we say, when some hidden disaster comes to light, too late for us to help.
But we can know—if we are willing to know. We can lift up our eyes and look around us for the signs of need. We can pray and ask God to direct us to the people who need help. The main thing we need is a willing heart. God will provide the rest.
Do you want to know?
Dear Father, show me what You want me to know so I can serve the people You love. Amen.
What do you do when you are bored?
When was there something happening “right under your eyes” that you didn’t notice or recognize?
Tell the story of a time when God opened your eyes to a need, and you were able to help.
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.