Please welcome my dear She Speaks friend to My Messy Desk. Janna is tackling a tough topic today, but it’s one that will prepare our hearts to hear the Easter message in full.
Crucify VERB 1) put (someone) to death by nailing or binding them to a cross, especially as an ancient punishment: synonyms: nail to a cross · execute · put to death · kill cause anguish to (someone):
Made common in ancient times by Alexander the Great, crucifixion was one of the most dreaded forms of death. Beginning with the terror of being convicted to a slow and painful death, (and in cases such as with Jesus, being whipped and beaten), it was followed with the excruciating pain of spikes being driven through your wrists and ankles to hold you to the cross, your arms dislocating from the weight of your body hanging for hours upon hours, and your survival instinct fighting against your assured death and using the spike pierced through your ankles as leverage to raise yourself just enough to allow your last breath, trapped by your over-stretched diaphragm, to be forced from your lungs, frequently ending in suffocation. It was torture, reserved for the worst and lowliest.
It was the death Jesus stepped down from heaven into this fallen world to suffer.
But crucifixion was reserved for the worst of the worst! Jesus was innocent! (See Luke 23:14) How could this have happened?
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.”
Zechariah was just one of the prophets who foretold about Jesus. From Genesis forward, the Bible tells of the coming of the Lord. Simply put, Jesus was willing. He was with God at the creation of the world. He ruled by His Father’s side as each prophecy was revealed to mankind. He was born of a virgin knowing the cross awaited Him. He walked through His earthly life knowing. He sat at a table, breaking bread and sharing wine with his disciples knowing He was being betrayed. He stood before Pilate knowing exactly how many times his skin would be torn from the whip that would lash his body. He knew what He was doing, and yet He did it still. He willingly made Himself the sacrifice for our sins. Nothing could hold Jesus to that cross, let alone get Him on it, but for His and His Father’s will, (John 10:18).
Jesus was not just innocent by earthly rulings, He is innocent and holy in and of Himself. We are not. So why? Why did Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, choose to die on a cross for the imperfect?
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Our sin cried out for justice and demanded judgement. Our sin needed atoning for. And Christ – in His love, mercy, and grace – was the willing sacrificial Lamb that took our place. And so the day before the Sabbath, a day set aside to be holy, Christ gave His life for us.
“It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, ‘Not one of his bones will be broken,’ and ‘They will look on the one they pierced.’” John 19:31-37
But Christ’s sufferings didn’t end at His last breath on the cross. Being crucified was not what caused Him to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46). He had to bear the full punishment of sin – complete separation from God. Because that’s what sin does; it separates us from God.
We deserve death. We deserve hell. And instead we are loved, cherished, and chosen. The Christ who was crucified for our sakes, for those who believe in Him and accept him, He offers forgiveness, eternal life, and the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
In two days, Christians will remember Christ’s death on the cross. Meant for some to be a time of fasting & repentance, we reflect on the agony that overtook Jesus the day He was crucified…and we call it Good Friday. And it is good. In the darkest hours of earth, God was still sovereign. He was still good. Christ crucified was a precious gift, an atoning sacrifice for our sins, and proof that not man nor the powers of hell could hold Him in the grave.
“That the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified,
and that he would rise again on the third day.”
Crucifixion. Capital punishment that bought us salvation.
You can connect with Janna through her blog at jannahalterman.com, on facebook at facebook.com/AuthorJannaHalterman, or on Instagram @jannahalterman.