Crosses. We hang them on our walls. We wear them on necklaces. We display them on end tables. Yet as beautiful as we think they are, the word cruel cannot adequately describe the brutality of death on a cross. It was barbaric.
The physical agony that Jesus endured on the cross is unimaginable. I watched the Passion of Christ. I’ve read about what happened when a man was crucified and I know it was horrendous. Yet the physical agony that Jesus endured on the cross is beyond my understanding. It would be easier to push the mental images aside but the cross was real and Jesus endured the public humiliation, suffering and suffocation. The least I can do is remember and consider why He would endure such agony.
As terrible as the physical pain must have been, it gets worse. On that cross, Jesus took on every sin of every man. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” On that hill outside of Jerusalem, He bore the sin of my past and every sin in my future. And yours. And everyone else’s. Can you imagine the weight of all that sin? The magnitude of all the sin He willingly accepted? The pain involved?
With all of that, I don’t think it compares to the agony Jesus faced when the sin separated Him from the Father. Until that moment, for all of eternity, He had been in perfect, loving, intimate, committed fellowship with His beloved Father. They had created the world together. They had delighted in one another. The agony they must have both experienced in that moment of broken fellowship is beyond my ability to comprehend.
Jesus last words from the cross were, “It is finished.” Those words! What freedom for you and me! Those precious words were His cry of victory! Every single thing He was to meant to do when He was sent to this earth had been accomplished. Prophecy was fulfilled. The love God has for each of us was tangibly revealed. Reconciliation with the holy, righteous God was offered to everyone. He did it all! There is not one single thing that you and I can add to the finished work of the cross.
The crucifixion took place while Passover was being celebrated. The Jews were commemorating their ancestor’s freedom from captivity. They were remembering how God protected His people, through the spilled blood of an innocent lamb, as they escaped Egyptian slavery. And it is on a hill called Calvary where the spilled blood of Jesus made a way for our great escape from captivity.
For those who believe, we recognize that God revealed His immense, unquestionable, faithful, enduring love for us through the cross. The cross beckons us to draw closer. We consider it beautiful and we praise God for His power to transform the barbaric into beauty. We see that because of our trust in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, we will never have to experience separation from God.
Question to ponder?
Do I rest in the finished work of the cross, knowing it sufficiently covers the sins of my past and future?