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John 19:23-30, Jesus’ Last Words

Thursday, March 29

A Disconcerting Grief

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.


Even as he died, Jesus clung to his identity to the very last breath. Hanging on a cross, tortured and despairing, his thoughts were for his mother who was losing her son, and his disciples who were losing their rabbi, teacher, and friend. “Woman, here is your son.” To his disciple, “Here is your mother.” Jesus knew the work was not finished, and he entrusted his loved ones into the care of one another so that they could console each other, find strength in one another, and continue his work after his departure.

Today marks the first of the darkest three days we recognize each year. The time when we remember and feel the absence of Jesus, the loss, the grief, and the gravity of the things Jesus bore for us. While it is tempting to rush toward relief from that grief, let us sit with the discomfort. This time of reflection can be cathartic and healing.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 19:23-30

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.