Weekly devotion with Bill Mayall
As a young boy, my parents gave me a prayer book that on the very first page showed a color picture of Jesus on the cross. Underneath the picture was the statement from John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
That picture had a profound impact on my life, and still does. Whenever I see the depiction of the crucified Christ, I always have the same reaction…awe…reverence…humility…and the same five words always immediately come to mind…My Lord and My God.
The 27th Chapter of Matthew provides a record of the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus that day. The Gospel writers are great storytellers, often offering detailed descriptions of events that took place during Jesus’ ministry. I have often reflected on the crucifixion of Christ, trying to imagine what took place that fateful day.
Recently, on a trip to Braga, Portugal and a visit to the Sanctuary of Good Jesus of the Mount, a Catholic Shrine, I saw the most moving depiction of the crucifixion scene I had ever encountered.
From the description offered in Matthew, I have always been able to visualize what I thought might be the scene in my mind’s eye. However, looking at the re-creation of the scene above the main altar of the sanctuary, in all its graphic detail (see photo), gave me a new appreciation of how to imagine some of the key events of that day. It was like looking at a real life diorama (for those who might remember those things from our school days!).
Once again I was reminded that Christ died for me…and for you…for us…for our sins and to bring us closer to God. The apostles Paul and Peter tell us, “You who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). As I sat and quietly reflected on that scene, the words that came to mind were…Thank you, Lord…Forgive me my sins…help me to love and serve you better.
Prayer: Lord, you gave us a gift…freely, without reservation. You redeemed us on that hill that fateful day. Help us to accept that gift and live a life that removes the daily barriers that separate us from you. Amen