Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 45

Friday, April 2 – Everything Must Change – By Esther Khubyar

Psalm 22
Luke 22:39-23:56

What Our Saviour Saw from the Cross by James Tissot (c 1890)
What Our Saviour Saw from the Cross by James Tissot (c 1890)

On Good Friday, the most holy and solemn day in the Christian calendar, worshippers may sing an African-American spiritual, written in 1899, Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?  It is a mournful tune with lyrics that capture so simply the solemnity of Good Friday.

Who was there to witness the crucifixion? Were they there to mock or to mourn? To ridicule or to repent? To berate or to believe?

Was the blind man there? Did he regain his sight, only to witness the cruelty towards his beloved Healer? Was the lame man there, now able to stand, watching and wondering at why the authorities crucified this good Man?  Was the demon-possessed young man there, now in his right mind and spirit, worshipping his Lord? Was the woman there, who had been healed of her bleeding, wishing she could reach up and ease his pain? Throughout the gospels, great crowds followed Jesus, looking for a special miracle touch. Were they there at the cross:  wondering, waiting, wailing?

The Roman soldiers were there whose task was to process the crucifixion. Did one of them look up at the broken body of Jesus and see the rustic sign saying, King of the Jews? Did he wonder, “Is it possible? Oh, no, what have I done? I had to follow orders, but what if?”

The Roman centurion was there, and as he waited for Jesus’ inevitable death on the cross, he couldn’t contain his thoughts any longer and loudly exclaimed, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.”

The two thieves were there, both being crucified beside Jesus; one angry and mocking, the other repentant and humble.

Jesus’ mother Mary and other women were there. Despite the pain, Jesus lovingly provided for his mother’s care by declaring John, his beloved disciple, to become her son and she his mother.

Most of us might prefer to avoid gazing on the painful portrait of the suffering Servant on that cruel cross. But on this Good Friday, will we quietly pause on our journey of faith to worship, watch, and wait for these hours of despair to pass?

 Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?


Oh, precious Saviour, today we humbly bow our heads before the cross in sorrow for how You suffered for our sakes. We too may wonder, “Why did this most innocent person have to suffer so?” Lord, You gave Your all to humankind, to provide forgiveness and freedom for all those who remember and know You as their Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We love You dearest Jesus, and we give You all honour and glory and praise. O Son of God, Messiah, Lord.