“Behold the man upon the cross…”

Today, I would like to share a story with you.

When I had two great friends from America come to visit, we did lots of sightseeing. On this particular day, we headed into Paris to see Sacré Coeur. It is a beautiful, white cathedral on the highest point in Paris. After walking up some steps, entering the cathedral, and seeing the amazing mosaic of the risen Christ, we walked around the area to do some shopping in this really cute, touristy corner of Paris. I don’t normally buy many souvenirs since we are spending the whole year here, but I saw a really cute sweatshirt that I wanted to buy with some Christmas money. Since I didn’t have the money with me, I handed the sweatshirt to my dad for him to go purchase and promised to pay him back. 🙂 My friends also bought similar sweatshirts, and we exited the shop and continued walking down the street. Before I knew it, the shop owner appeared in front of me and said in French, “I am missing a sweatshirt that was not paid for. You need to come back to the shop and I will show you the cameras.” My friends and family said I behaved maturely, but on the inside, I was absolutely outraged. How dare he accuse me of stealing! I wouldn’t ever do anything of the sort! My cheeks turned bright red as I marched back to the shop with him exclaiming that I did not steal it. My mom ran to get my dad who had the receipt and was also way ahead of us on the road. While I waited at the shop, my friends said they had paid for everything. The shop owner confirmed and said I was the one who had stolen something. Then, I realized I needed to tell him that my dad was the one who paid for it. I explained that my dad had paid with a debit card, he asked his colleague if he had sold a sweatshirt to a man, and he said yes. The shop owner muttered a lousy, “C’est bon” (It’s good) and entered back into his shop. This made me even more angry!! He accused me of stealing without double checking with the other cashier, and he didn’t even apologize when he realized he was in the wrong! I turned around to walk back towards the car with everyone, and I started crying.

I may be dramatic, but this incidence still makes me very mad, even as I am sitting here typing it. I think it enraged me because he was so sure that I had done something wrong. He was accusing me of something I didn’t do. I know of someone else who was accused when he was absolutely perfect, and he didn’t even fight back. Here are two passages that God brought to mind.

John 18:19-24

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Matthew 23:32-41

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”And they divided up his clothes casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

I am thankful for this small incident that caused me to think about how amazing Jesus is. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • I am a sinner and have done so very many things wrong in my life. Yet, I was so full of anger when being accused of stealing. Jesus was slapped in the face, mocked, and crucified without ever doing one thing wrong. I wonder how he must have felt. 
  • He could have easily fought back when the official slapped him. He could have easily blown up like I did with that man in Paris. He could have called down angels from heaven to end his crucifixion. Yet, he calmly endured lots of questioning and suffering for our sake. What incredible self-control. What incredible love. 
  • I am amazed that he asks the father to forgive those crucifying him. I was so mad at the shop owner who didn’t see my point of view, when I didn’t see his point of view. Jesus loves and understands each and every one of us, even those who crucified him. He is so patient and forgiving. 
  • I can’t imagine what suffering Jesus endured to free me of my sin. I pray I never take the life he gives for granted. 

Behold the man upon the cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished 

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Thank you Madeline for sharing this story! It is no fun to be accused unfairly and Jesus certainly gives us the ultimate way to emulate…which is hard for us. I see another aspect to your story, if I may. Your father paid your debt for you. You trusted that he would do what he said, so you knew you could freely walk out of the store with the shirt. It reminds me of how we put our trust in Jesus who paid our debt for us and we can freely walk in newness of life. Love you! So glad you had friends visiting with you over the holiday!

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