Holy Week gives us pause.

We reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made,

the devotion of his followers,

and the grief they suffer in his death.

How will you walk through Holy Week? Where do you find yourself in the cast of characters surrounding Jesus during this Lenten season?

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Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.

John 19:25-30

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The scene at the cross must have been unbearable for anyone who followed Jesus, but even more so for his mother. Imagine her grief as her son makes a final concession for her, that the disciple care for her as if she were his own mother. Then Jesus takes pains to demonstrate he is fulfilling scripture. One last indignity of sour wine being placed on his parched lips. Yet he took it, announcing the completion of his life.

Imagine the moment, the despair and pain of his families and followers. This man of peace and justice is now a body, hanging on the cross like a common criminal. It must have been a crushing scene to take in. Death, it seems so final. Cruel in its ending and even more in how Jesus endured it. Try today to sit with that same pain.

Brian Foreman

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God, let me be uncomfortable with the death of Jesus. Let me be still in the despair of those earliest followers. Do not abandon me. Amen.

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The Kingdom is here, but not yet in its fullness.

Jesus taught his followers to be about Kingdom-building through service and love. He never promised them it would be easy.

Go and do likewise.

Brian Foreman

Brian Foreman is the director of the Campbell Youth Theological Institute (CYTI) at Campbell University, where rising high school Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are invited to explore their faith, vocational leanings, and how each translates into social action through lives of service and leadership. For more information about CYTI, visit

Brian is also professor in the Divinity School and the Department of Christian Studies, teaching courses in youth and education ministry, as well as Introduction to Christianity classes.

Brian lives in Raleigh with his wife Denise and two teenagers, Brock, 17, and Adria, 13, who are his own personal youth group.

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Mark Hayes

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