April 15 I Friday
1 Samuel 27-29
“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” —John 19:19
The passage continues, after the opening verse of this devotion, “Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, ‘Do not write “The King of the Jews,” but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written’” (John 19:20-22).
On the hill of Golgotha, Jesus hung on a Roman cross for six hours. Mark 15:29-30 tells us, “Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘So! You who are going to destroy the Temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save Yourself!’” The chief priests and teachers of the law also mocked Jesus as did the Roman soldiers. Despite the immense agony Christ was in, He did not complain, nor did He cast blame. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
The soldiers divided Jesus’s clothing into four shares and casted lots for His undergarment, which they did not want to tear because it was seamless. This happened, fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 22:18, “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” Psalm 22, written over 1,000 years before, gave striking detail of the crucifixion of Jesus.
In the ninth hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? (which means ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’)” (Matthew 27:46). In those days, the Psalms were not known by their number, but by their opening line. For example, Psalm 23 was known as “The Lord is My Shepherd” and Psalm 22 as “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” When Jesus cried out, He was saying in effect, “Read Psalm 22,” and those who did would find the graphic description of this psalm unfolding before their eyes.
Psalm 22:19 goes, “But You, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” Jesus’s cry seemed one of despair, but it was one of hope. Pilate’s sign actually hinted at the truth: Jesus was not only King of the Jews, but He is named in Revelation 17:14 as “Lord of lords and King of kings.” When we come in humble repentance to the cross of Christ, may we meditate on the last verse of Psalm 22: “They will proclaim His righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” (Psalm 22:31).
Prayer: Precious Lord, thank You for paying the penalty for my sin and giving me life everlasting with You. I pray for people who have yet to realize they need saving and ask that Your Holy Spirit draws them to the cross of Jesus. Thank You, Lord.