Words of Hope: Meditation on the Cross 

A friend of mine posted on Facebook a description of the physical suffering of Jesus on the cross. I never realized the loss of blood is why water poured from his side. The Roman soldier who witnessed Christ’s death exclaimed, “Surely this was the Son of God.”  

I love Roman history and have listened to over 400 hours of lectures on Rome. This admiration of a Roman soldier, a veteran, seasoned, leader has always struck me. What exactly caused him to make this confirmation? I also wonder how his life changed after he witnessed the crucifixion.   

Dad loved to use his imagination in prayer to picture the scene. What was it like to be there? What could he hear God speaking to him through the embodiment of the scripture? 

Dad and I would talk about this method of praying. This method of listening to the story with greater reverence, silence, and wonder. I remember how easy it was for me to hear a story I had heard in the Bible before and become intellectual or bored about the piece but not with this kind of prayer. By imagining the scene and listening to what emotions I may feel, I can invite God to speak to me in new and profound ways.

I ask myself the hard questions. What would it be like to see Jesus beaten so severely? Would I have been at the cross, or hiding with the other disciples? Would I have shown care or been too afraid? Women were also crucified during this time. Did Mary or John or the others around the cross have any thoughts they may be crucified with Christ?   

How does my fear in the present keep me from following the suffering of Christ? How does public shame or propriety supersede compassion, presence, and attentiveness to the needs of others in my life?   

I picture the agony Christ suffered on the cross, the humiliation, exhaustion, the herculean energy necessary to withstand the beatings, His crown of thorns, the road to Golgotha, the cross, nails, Judas’s betrayal, Christ’s separation. I ask God to use the image of this to speak to my heart and lead me where He wants me to go. 

And when the centurion who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God.’ – Mark 15:17