I’ve forgotten the actual date, but I think it was Good Friday,1993, when we had a pageant that included a crucifixion. Our worship area at that time was rather patched together and we did a lot of unusual, creative building when we wanted to do something extra special and dramatic. This production included three crosses and special slots built in a double stage into which the crosses could be dropped after they were lifted up.

The arms of the men who played Jesus and the two thieves were stretched along the cross pieces and tied firmly and their feet rested on little shelves and their legs were tied to the upright.  The choir was hollering “Crucify him, crucify him” as several soldiers lifted Jesus’ cross up and dropped it in the slot, then for each of the thieves, and dropped theirs in.  My most vivid memory was the heavy thud and the cry from the men as each of their crosses dropped in and stood upright on the stage.

When I read The Old Testament prophets, God is speaking through them warnings of coming trouble unless the leaders and people return to God and follow the Commandments given to Moses: first what God had done for Israel bringing them out of slavery; and how they were to relate to God and to each other as people; also, what was going to happen if the people didn’t turn back to the Lord. 

Ezekiel 33:11 tells me a lot about God’s heart’s desire for his people: 

“Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?’”

In the New Testament I see more about the heart and character of God in John 3:16, which is one of the first scriptures I memorized as a child.


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 ESV [Emphasis added.]

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

From what I’ve read, the word translated,”wept” did not mean just a few tears, but meant gut wrenching grief, because the people, especially most of the leaders of the temple and synagogues refused to turn to Jesus.  


And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44 ESV

I remember someone I knew many years ago “advertising” that he “had the mind of Christ,” but his consistent words and actions did not match what is described in Philippians 2:5-11.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11 ESV [Emphasis added.]

As I read this, I have to ask myself some hard questions about my heart and mind and my willingness to be obedient to what God asks of me.  Philippians 2:1-5 are some of the questions to ask ourselves.

by Carolyn Schmitt

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