When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The day Jesus was crucified ought to have been the blackest day in human history: God’s own son – his only son and the purest, loveliest person to ever walk the earth – had been slandered, beaten, ridiculed and murdered. There should be no coming back from a crime, a sin, like this. Except that God, in his majesty, his wisdom, his unrelenting love and grace, had planned everything – and had set himself to make this most terrible of days the day of our brightest hope. It’s true, there really is no coming back from the day of his crucifixion – but it is love, presence and mercy which flow from the cross, not judgment, not yet. Jesus’ life, his death and his resurrection are all signs of his perfect power and sovereignty, evidence of his love and strength poured out on our behalf, so that not a drop of his precious blood will be wasted. Jesus’ willing death and his glorious resurrection show that nothing can stop him from loving, saving and blessing even the worst of us: if he is for us, then who on earth can stand against us?!
Why then do so many of us live our Christian lives like these roman soldiers at the foot of the cross, hoping for something of the kingdom but trusting to ‘luck’ instead of the heart and strength of our Father? Just as these soldiers cast lots or rolled dice for Jesus’ earthly clothes but missed the glory and nearness of the saviour himself, so many of us Christians feel we have to beg or hope in vain for some blessing or providence. Have we forgotten?! We are simply called to fix our eyes on Jesus, to walk humbly with our God, the one who will never leave us, who is with us always, and follow him wherever he leads! Even pastors and leaders can find themselves leaning into chance, hoping a human hope that maybe, just maybe, things will work out… Beloved, don’t miss the indestructible and unassailable truth that all you need and could ever hope for is found in Jesus – he died so that every sin which separates would be lifted from you, and so that the sweet, deep and ever present communion he enjoyed with his Father wold be yours forever. Step into this grace today, seek his face (Ps 27:8) and refuse to ever trust anything in your life to luck or chance again.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
If you are a Christian you need never leave anything to chance ever again; instead commit all things – even your uncertainty and your mistakes – to your loving Father, who did not spare his only son but favoured you instead; he is strong beyond all understanding, and he has shown in Jesus the extent to which he is willing to love you and forgive you all things. Expect more than you have ever asked for from him, ask for more of his presence, more of his voice, more of his Spirit; these are prayers he loves to answer – prayers that he died to answer – with a resounding yes!
If you are not a Christian then take another look at Jesus, fully God and yet alive and then dead on a cross in his true humanity. Perhaps you will see him the way one other Roman soldier saw him on the day of his crucifixion:
And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’
Take another look and commit yourself and all the stuff of your life to him and his Father – your Father too, if you will only believe: he is the very definition of safe hands.