The following meditation on Jesus’ crucifixion is by Catholicos Khrimian Hayrig. It has been translated from his book Յիսուսի վերջին շաբաթ. Խաչի ճառ [Jesus’ Last Week: The Discourse on the Cross], published in Constantinople in 1894.
Lord, now you have been lifted up. You said, “When I am lifted up I will draw the whole world to myself” [John 12:32].
Lord, I am startled by that inconceivable, impossible miracle. I don’t know how you intend to draw everyone to yourself. Your hands are tied. Your feet are nailed. In a little while you will die and be powerless, and people will carry you to the tomb thinking that you are no different than the dead of this world. Is it really possible for you to draw the world to yourself from the Cross and the Tomb?
Yet I know and I understand, Jesus. What you are saying is clear and profound. Your all-reaching, all-powerful hand is alive and powerful even in death. And you will not draw humanity to yourself by force of the sword like the rulers who reign over this world.
Instead, you will draw them close by your infinite love. By the self-sacrifice of the Cross you will draw them close. By your blameless blood you will draw them close. By your gentle yoke you will draw them close. By your boundless forgiveness you will draw them close. By the liberal proclamation of your Good News you will draw them close.
From this world you will draw living believers close. You will go down to the tomb and from the earth you will draw the dead close. Going farther to the inner prison you will draw the captive spirits close. From the temples of idolatry you will draw the unbelievers close.
And you will deliver them all to the new praetorium, your church, gathering every single person into one flock, bringing them all together under your staff, O Good Shepherd!