I thought coming back to remembering this on Good Friday seemed fitting. How amazing is the love our God!!!
It’s not Easter, but do you remember the Cross?
Have the images of The Passion of the Christ movie left you relegated to your stock remembrances of Jesus?
Maybe for a moment, try to remember one more time how much love it took for Christ to willingly suffer on the Cross meant for us.
The Bible tells us that as the time drew nearer for His death Jesus took time to pray at the Mount of Olives. Luke tells us that knowing what lay before him he prayed “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will buy yours be done.” As drips of blood soaked sweat fell into His eyes he stood to his feet.
He turned to walk away only to find His disciples, His friends, sleeping while He prayed for His life.
No sooner had He said those words then a crowd enters led by one of His disciples. Judas approaches the Man whom he had followed for 3 years and kisses Him on the cheek sealing both of their fates.
Jesus was then arrested and as He walks to His trial He is blindfolded and beaten. As each punch thrown lands on this defenseless man He is mocked and ridiculed.
He is led to a series of unjust trials between Pilate and Herod until ultimately Pilate gives into the wishes of the Jewish mob and sentences Jesus to death while releasing a convicted murder. A scene all to representative of what Christ did for us.
Even before the death penalty was to be conducted Jesus was flogged. Stripped naked and shackled to a post a Roman Executioner would administer the lashes. A long whip with a metal ball embedded by bits of bone and metal were used to beat this innocent Man. The whip would tenderize the flesh of the victim to the point that skin could not withstand anymore abuse and would burst. Beyond that point, the whip’s recoil would take chunks of flesh and bone exposing tissue, muscle and organs.
From there this carpenter from Nazareth now beaten and bleeding profusely would be forced to carry the cross beam of His own cross. Weighing over 100 pounds the beam would be thrust onto the exposed shoulder of Jesus whose entire body most certainly was in shock.
Not able to carry the beam any longer or perhaps because the guards were growing weary of the pace, a man is grabbed from the crowd to carry the cross the remaining distance.
This crucifixion was not an isolated incident in history. It was a wide spread Roman method of execution reserved for only the most heinous of crimes. Thousands of people have died as a result of it including Peter. History tells us that as many as 6,000 slaves were crucified at once for following Spartacus along the Appian Way, a distance spanning miles.
Once at the site, Jesus had railroad-eske spikes driven into the most sensitive nerve centers of His body. The spikes would have been driven through the wrists and the ankles so that the weight of the body could be supported to prolong the agony as long as humanly possible.
Christ then would have been hoisted into the air to be attached to the vertical bea. He then would be left to die a slow and painful death. History tells us that crowds would taunt and mock the victims and the condemned would try to urinate and spit on the people in retaliation. Even women that were crucified would be hung with their faces against the beam so that their anguish could not be seen. It was an agonizing and disgraceful death.
A death ultimately of asphyxiation, as over time he no longer could push his body weight up enough on the spike through his feet to allow the air to enter his lungs.
After breathing His last, Christ was then observed by another Roman Executioner. Who, to be certain death had taken place, thrust a spear into His side puncturing the sac around His heart. Blood and water would have poured out through the spear-sized hole confirming the death.
And yet through all of this, Peter tells us that “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats”.
We killed Jesus.
We killed Jesus by our sin.
Peter goes on to tell us though, that “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed”.
So I ask you that when we consider your lives and the suffering you endure do so through eyes of Christ. Realize that the suffering we encounter pales in comparison to that of Christ, but because He loved us first we will never endure eternal death.
Yes we will go through struggles and yes we will suffer, but we should look to Jesus as our example of how to endure. We should remember that there is better beyond what we go through and it is assured because of Christ.
We have been healed by Jesus’ wounds and by the unconditional Love He has for you and I.
May we never forget.