“The Women at the Cross”

On April 14, Pastor Jim preaches on Matthew 27:45-56.

45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

55 Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday. It intends to help us consider Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as well as his brutal death on Friday. In some ways it’s hard to keep both of those images in our mind at the same time. There is a temptation to leap from Palm Sunday to Easter; from the donkey to the purple ducklings.

Let’s slow down. Let’s pause and think about what happened to our Lord. Let’s stand with those brave women at the foot of the cross and force ourselves to look up at him. Let’s consider two questions: Why was he killed and why did he die? These are two separate questions.