Posted on April 2, 2015
Wednesday: The Shadow of the Cross
This is the fourth post of an eight-day devotional designed to help you praise Christ each day of Easter week. Thanks for joining in!
Not long ago, I read a blog post by a woman who had undergone risky heart surgery. Her doctors had warned she probably wouldn’t survive the operation but guaranteed she’d die without it. She described the day prior to her surgery—a day she’d spent huddled with her husband and their four young children, aware they might be sharing their final precious hours together. Weeks later, knowing she was blessed to be alive, she looked back on that time with a mix of pain and gratitude.
That post may give us a sense of how Jesus spent the day on Wednesday of Holy Week—quietly, with His closest friends, knowing that in the coming 48 hours He would be arrested and crucified. We have no record of activity by Him on that day but only about Him.
On Wednesday Judas met with the Jewish leaders, promising to hand Jesus over to them. Remember that the Jews measured their days differently than we do; for them, Wednesday began at sunset on Tuesday evening. Earlier Tuesday evening at a banquet at Simon’s house, Mary had anointed Jesus’s feet with costly perfume. Judas objected to her extravagance (see Jn. 12:4-8 and Mark 14:6-11) and may have been irked when Jesus rebuked him; he very likely went straight from Simon’s house to the high priest to make his deadly deal.
Jesus probably spent Wednesday outside Jerusalem, in Bethany or on the Mount of Olives with His disciples. Was Judas with them? I believe so. How difficult the day must have been for Jesus, the shadow of the cross looming over Him while looking at the “friend” who had secretly begun the process of betraying Him.
The incredible love of Christ is shown in every moment of Holy Week, especially when we consider that He knew what was about to take place. His mercy, grace and love propelled Him forward. Now, knowing how blessed we are to have life in Him, we look back on that time with a mix of pain and gratitude.
Use the words of this hymn—my favorite hymn—to praise Him for staying the course to redeem your soul.
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand—
The shadow of a mighty Rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat and the burden of the day.
Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess—
the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face.
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,
my sinful self, my only shame, my glory all the cross.
© Diane McLoud 2015
Beneath the Cross of Jesus by Elizabeth C. Clephane, public domain.