Rev. Dick is pastor of Grace Protestant Reformed Church in Standale, Michigan.
One day, Matthew, Mark, and Luke confirm,
Simon, a man of Cyrene,
Came from the country
They compel Simon to bear the cross
The Savior will soon hang on and die on.
Simon … from the country.
Called to the city of God. By God.
Soiled man. Soil heart. Prepared soil?
His way … intersecting via dolorosa!
Compelled to bear the cross!
Daughters of Jerusalem, weeping for the wrong Person.
Two thieves, hanging, sheep and goat.
Those that pass by, reviling.
Crucifiers, parting garments, casting lots for the coat.
Some, wondering if Elias will save Him.
Prophecies fulfilling, knowing God will save Him.
Darkness killing the Son…
Many called to the crucifixion of the Christ.
One day. That good Friday.
We too. The called.
Called from sin and out of death.
Called to be with God and live.
How? By God, of course!
Who calls things that were not to be.
Hearing Christ crucified preached.
Not as many who hear
And cast cross and Christ
In their teeth.
By grace of cross
So one day
Out of Adam’s country
To the Way,
To the Hill
Feeling in soul
More than flesh feels wood…
Christ the power of God, and
The wisdom of God!
Giving to His back
We could not bear.
Casting crowns now
Before the Crucified King
Of our salvation.
Compelled (by love!)
To bear our cross
He gives (so light!).
To ponder anew
That Death of our
The Life of our
(on this way of grief!)
Of the better country,
For Study, Meditation, & Discussion
1. The gospel accounts
What do the other gospel narratives say of the crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 27:32-49; Mark 15:20-37; Luke 23:26-46)?
2. On the way to the Calvary
What is the significance of the place to which Jesus was brought to be crucified (cf. Heb. 13:11-13: “without the camp,” that is, outside Jerusalem)? Any significance in the name of the place: Calvary, Golgotha?
What do you think: Was the Simon who bore the cross of Jesus converted (compare Mark 15:21 with Rom. 16:13, Acts 11:20; 13:1)?
Those daughters of Jerusalem who followed Jesus on His way to be crucified (Luke 23:27ff.): Who were they? Why does Jesus tell them not to weep for Him but for themselves and their children? What is the interpretation of the puzzling statement, “For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry” (Luke 23:31)?
3. Death by crucifixion
Why did the Romans crucify certain criminals? Why did they crucify Jesus?
What is the significance of the crucifixion according to the counsel of God (cf. Gal. 3:10-13; Deut. 21:23).
4. Between two malefactors, v.18
Using the various accounts, comment on the attitudes and behavior of the two thieves crucified with Jesus.
May we infer from Jesus’ promise to the one thief that the souls of all God’s people go to glory immediately after the death of the body? May we infer that the state of the elect soul immediately after death is conscious glory? Give proof. What does Jesus’ promise to the dying thief tell us of how one is saved?
If a person born and baptized and raised in the church puts off repenting and believing on Jesus until his deathbed can he expect mercy?
What is the irony of the fact that Jesus was crucified “in the midst” of these two thieves?
5. The title, v.19
Pilate put a “title” on Jesus’ cross, saying in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” According to Matthew 27:37 this “title” was also Jesus’ accusation. What was the meaning of all this, and why did the Jews protest?
6. The parting of the garments, vv. 23, 24
The soldiers who crucified Jesus, seeking to gain the whole world, or at least their rightful share of it, and while losing their very souls, divided Jesus’ garments amongst themselves. Then they cast lots for Jesus’ coat. What Scripture did this fulfill? What was the significance of this seemingly insignificant event?
7. The revilers
Many people came by the cross as people might go to the main event at a circus. They do not, however, come to admire His act, or to applaud His courage. Instead, they come to revile, to mock, to challenge. What do they say? Why?
8. The darkness
After three hours on the cross, at about noon, there was a darkness over all the earth (cf. Luke 23:44, 45). What sermon does the darkness preach?
9. The Seven Cross Words
From the different gospel narratives, be able to list in order the seven different sayings Jesus uttered while He was on the cross. Consider and discuss the meaning of these last words of the Savior.
10. The significance of the cross
The Bible teaches everywhere that the cross of Jesus Christ is the salvation of the church. Consider and discuss the following:
Ten Old Testament and ten New Testament passages which speak of the cross.
Creedal statements of the significance of the cross (cf. Heidelberg Catechism: LD 15, 16; Belgic Confession, Art. 21; Canons of Dordt, Head IIA, Arts. 3, 4; Westminster Confession, Chapter 8, Arts. 4-6).
Errors which contradict the work and gospel of the cross.
Doctrines and Reformed terminology: Atonement. Reconciliation. Redemption. Propitiation. Substitution. Satisfaction of justice. Love. Limited scope. Infinite value. Other?
11. Cross in creation?
Is there revelation of the gospel of the cross in creation?
Do all have to be called to the cross and know about and believe in Jesus crucified for sin in order to be saved? Proof?
12. Perspective (John 20:31)
What does the crucifixion reveal of God’s holiness? Of sin’s sinfulness? Of Jesus’ identity as God and as Man? Of Jesus’ suffering? Of love?
How do most people react to the cross of Christ today?
What is it to take up our cross and follow Jesus(cf. Matt. 16:24)?
How do we, as Christians and Christian churches, show that we are witnesses of the glory and saving power of the cross (I Cor. 1:21ff.; Gal. 6:14)?
Students of the Word.
Soldiers of the cross.
Word of the cross!
Thrice holy God of grace
In Jesus Christ and cross
And you …
To the cross!
From the cross!
Into the world!
Onward to heaven!