Lent Devotional Day 41

Day 41
Monday, April 3

John 19:16-25

16 Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified. The soldiers took Jesus prisoner. 17 Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to a place called Skull Place (in Aramaic, Golgotha). 18 That’s where they crucified him—and two others with him, one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a public notice written and posted on the cross. It read “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. 21 Therefore, the Jewish chief priests complained to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The king of the Jews’ but ‘This man said, “I am the king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I’ve written, I’ve written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and his sandals, and divided them into four shares, one for each soldier. His shirt was seamless, woven as one piece from the top to the bottom. 24 They said to each other, “Let’s not tear it. Let’s cast lots to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill the scripture, 
They divided my clothes among themselves,
    and they cast lots for my clothing.[a]
        That’s what the soldiers did.
25 Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross.

I don’t know about you, but it feels like as I’ve gotten older, making choices has gotten harder and longer instead of easier and quicker. This reality, as it turns out, is a bummer and also wildly inconvenient. Why can’t somebody just tell me what my next move is, what will work out the best? Do I take the job? Do I have the conversation? Do I try something new? (Do I cave and get a TikTok?)

Something that has always struck me about reading the Bible is the in between, behind the scenes, very human choices and details that are left out of the writing. “So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. … There they crucified him.” Those are small sentences, but gigantic actions. Jesus’ big moment where he decides to stick with the plan of “greater love has no one than this, that one would lay down their life for one’s friends,” is not documented. Whatever social structure or need for survival that motivated the soldiers to follow orders isn’t documented. Even Pilate, who makes a bold choice to proclaim that Jesus is King (in 3 languages!) doesn’t walk us through his thought process or how he felt nailing that sign up there. Still- these choices occurred in the depths of spirits, in quiet prayers, in very real and complex hearts of human beings. These choices involved struggle, they involved other people, they took time. These choices are so much more than one sentence each.

This season, I encourage you to lean into your behind the scenes moments that surround the choices you have to make. Put to rest the pressure that you should immediately know exactly what to do, that your next sentence coming up should be short and sweet and devoid of all the details it took you to get there. You are made up of so much more than that, and have been given real thoughts, gifts, community and the Holy Spirit to walk  with whom to walk through the seemingly endless choices of life. And here is some good news my friends- nobody has it figured out. You are not alone; there is grace upon grace for all. And sometimes, it’s in our in betweens where we find the most God, and where we find the most us.

By Aly Chisum

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