"Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “ It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." John 19:30
Whenever I think of Jesus on the cross, it fills me with the greatest of mixed emotions. The first is an overwhelming sadness. Crucifixion is a horrible way to die. The process is filled with pain and degredation. Not only were stakes driven through the body but the person being crucified was put on public display. Imagine the horror of having to shift your weight from your bent legs to your spread arms to get away from the pain, but finding no refuge. Soon wracking cramps would attack the muscles and there would be no relief. Because of the spread arms, the diaphragm slowly begins to lose its effectiveness affecting the ability to breath. Death ultimately comes through suffocation, but in most cases only after days of unimaginable suffering. It is tough to think of anyone enduring such punishment. It is even tougher to think of it happening to Jesus (and when I think Jesus, I think of everything that is).
Then my emotions swing widely when I realize that had it not been for that suffering and that death, there would have been no resurrection. And if there was no resurrection for him, there would be none for me. Paul said, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" 1 Cor 15:17. It took nothing less than his ultimate sacrifice to bring worth to my faith and cleansing to my sins. I know that it is nothing I could possibly have accomplished on my own or for myself. That he had enough love for me to pay the ultimate price fills me with joy and humility...and even shame when I fail to live up to his expectations. Even this, however, is mitigated by the knowledge that his forgiveness is vast and complete.
Beloved, how much must he love us to go through such terror? How much must he love us to have gone through such pain and humiliation? How much must we love him? The answer is simple. We must love him the same way he loves us: with everything we have!
Rejoicing in the Lord,