Playing games at the foot of the cross

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decided by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,

“They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

So this is what the soldiers did.   John 19:23-24

Easter has passed, but the message of the cross remains. Jesus died to conquer death and give eternal life to all who believe.

Apparently my youngest daughter has been thinking about the crucifixion lately. Maybe it’s the stories she heard at church. Maybe it’s something she picked up at home. But in her mind, one part of the story didn’t add up. She asked me about it while we were walking the dog yesterday.

I can still hear the incredulous note in her voice as she asked me about the soldiers at the foot of the cross.

“They played games while Jesus was dying on the cross, Mommy. Can you believe that?”

Now I’ve heard the crucifixion story countless times. I know Jesus had to carry his own cross until he could bear the weight no more. I know he was forced to wear a crown of thorns. I know he was offered a vinegar-soaked sponge when he was thirsty. All of which sounds unbearable.

But I didn’t pick up on the spectacle of Jesus’s death until my five-year-old pointed it out.

The soldiers were playing games at the foot of the cross. Casting lots for his clothing as if they were passing time at any old job. Meanwhile, God’s son was dying on a cross – for them. The purest expression of love was within reach and they looked the other way.

Lest I become too indignant, don’t I do the same thing? Instead of spending time in God’s word, I check Facebook. Instead of pouring out my heart to my heavenly father, I call a friend.

I don’t want to trade the miraculous for the mundane. I don’t want to play games at the foot of the cross.

God, thank you for the faith of a child – one with eyes to see and a heart to understand the message of the cross. May I never waste an opportunity to see your mighty hand at work, even today.

Let’s talk: Have you ever had a conversation with your child that gave you pause? What did you learn?

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