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?

African-American spiritual

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The Jewish leaders cried out, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

Pilate responded, “What? Do you want me to crucify your king?”

“We have no king except the emperor,” the chief priests answered. Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.

The soldiers took Jesus prisoner. Carrying his cross by himself, he went out to a place called Skull Place (in Aramaic, Golgotha). That’s where they crucified him—and two others with him, one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a public notice written and posted on the cross. It read “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.”

John 19:15-19

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On this Good Friday we hear the horrifying statement of the Jewish religious leaders. When Pilate asks them: “Shall I crucify your king?” they respond: “We have no king but the emperor.”

They say this even though from their childhood they had learned the old hymn: “The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty!” (Psalm 93) But now they say that the emperor is their only king. By their words they walk away from their core confession of faith and give their full allegiance to the Roman empire.

When we listen to them, we have to ask ourselves: Is Jesus Christ really our Lord? Do we live our lives in service to Christ? Or have we allowed some lesser power to be the master of our lives? Some political leader? Some ambition? Some addiction?

Good Friday is as good a day as any to ask: who is Lord of my life? Who receives my highest allegiance? The God who loves me with a love that will not let go and who calls me to serve? Or someone else?

Paul Baxley

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Lord, when I was baptized I professed my faith that Jesus Christ is my Lord. Help me to live my whole life out of that commitment so that I can truly say: “I have no king but Jesus.” Amen.

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Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts in “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (1707)

Paul Baxley

Paul Baxley is the executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Sunshine on My Face

John Morton

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