READ : John 19:1-30
There they crucified him . . . (v. 18)
Today, in many churches altars are bare and crosses are shrouded in black to mark the
darkest hour in history, when Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world.
Isaiah foretold what was to come when God came in the person of Jesus to drink the cup of
suffering in order to reconcile us to God. Jesus would be a “man of sorrows, and familiar
with suffering” (Isa. 53:3 NIV). The suffering intensified until in the last hours of his
life it reached an unimaginable level. On the cross, Jesus plumbed into the farthest
depths of suffering. In his body he has carried not only our sins but our pains: every
separation and loss, every broken heart, every wound of the spirit, all the raw
experiences of men, women, and children across the ages.
This Suffering Servant still makes his way into our pain. The fact that Jesus came to
earth to suffer and die shows us that God does not sit idly by and watch us suffer. In the
darkest hour of the human race God was not removed from our pain, he was hanging on a
cross, giving us himself as proof that he hears our cries, and cries with us. And when we
“walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4) we can know that we never walk
Lord, you have borne our pain and suffering; no darkness is too great for you.