Cross Walk Devotional: It Can’t End Like This

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Our Cross Walk series has been leading to one of the most memorable moments in Jesus’ ministry, the crucifixion. This material captures our imagination and paints a vivid picture of the cruelty that humanity is capable of. It begs us to picture what it was like to be there and to witness the abuse, the slander, and the murder of the Son of God.

Mark 15:16-32 tells us about the beginning of Jesus’ crucifixion. We watch as Jesus is treated as someone of no value by the Roman officials. We see how Jesus’ own people, especially those who had been threatened by who he was, are quick to mock their Messiah and revel in their apparent victory. Their hateful activity is contrasted with Jesus’ passive acceptance of his fate because he seems weak and incapable of doing anything to change his situation. If we only had this part as the end to Jesus’ story, it would be an unremarkable end to a life with so much promise.

If we were there, if we had been following Jesus all this time and seen all the great things he had done, I imagine we would be thinking, “Surely, it can’t end like this.” For all the great things that happened in his life, for all of the ways it seemed like the world would finally be different because of him, for all the ways it seemed like God’s power had come to free the abused and marginalized from unjust suffering in this world, surely it can’t end like this.

As much as this story is a story about what happened 2000 years ago, all too often it this story is re-lived. The same dark world that Jesus inhabited in Mark 15:16-32 exists all around is in our own world. Innocent people are oppressed unvalued more than we would like to think in our own country, in our own cities, and even in our own neighborhoods. If we took the time to look around, we would see that we are surrounded by people who cry out to God, daily, “Surely, it can’t end like this.”

So where would we be if Jesus’ story ended here? For a short time for those who loved Jesus, this was the ending to his story. The resurrection was only days away but the darkness felt by those who were close to Jesus at this time must have been immense. This is the darkness of a future without Jesus.

But praise God we, the people of the resurrected, enthroned, empowered, just and holy Jesus have a message to share in our present darkness because we know that the resurrection happened, and through it we have all been empowered to shine His light on the world! We are able to go into the Golgothas with those who are being crucified daily and deliver a message of hope, not just of the hope to come, but the hope for today that comes through the knowledge of the Son of God. Jesus walked through his own darkness so that he could be a light to the world. As we look forward to the Easter Sunday and the celebration of the resurrection, may we look into the dark places around us and see those who only know darkness and live as if the crucifixion was the end of the story. But it did not end there for Jesus and it does not end there for us. As believers, we can enter the darkness, easing injustice and suffering while we are here because we serve a King who heals and promises His own resurrection for all creation. We can bear this part of Jesus’ story in Mark because we know it only adds to the glory that is to come. The same goes for those in our world who live lives of pain and need to know how Jesus changes the end of their story. Our message to them is the same message we read about in Mark’s gospel, that because Jesus is King and Messiah, surely it won’t end like this.

You are loved!

Jon Cooke