The Cross of Christ
“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
The Cross of Christ
The Cross of Christ is in view for us to see in one various form or another on a daily basis. We proudly display it at the front of our church. It is part of our society. You see the cross used as tombstones in graveyards. You see the cross used as a memorial for someone who passed away tragically. You see the cross in the form of tattoos and in the form of necklaces. Many hospitals have the symbol of the cross in, and part of their building.
Imagine what people may think if you were to wear an electric chair around your neck or a noose in our society today. Yes, there is probably some who do but, what do you think? You may think that person was crazy. Imagine wearing a cross as a necklace during the time when crucifixion was the means in which the death penalty was executed. People would certainly think you were crazy.
Here is a quote found in Wikipedia. “Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape mention by some of their eminent orators. Cicero for example, described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment” and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, and his ears”
The process was both painful and humiliating. We have many pictures of normal looking people with a melancholy face and a loin cloth wrapped around their waste. The truth is most were whipped and beaten to the point where they were disfigured with the inner parts of their bodies exposed. The crucified were most likely naked. There was no loin cloth protecting the sight of their intimate parts. It was humiliating. Our Lord experienced this. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia the suffering was so frightful that people who witnessed the act were instigated to passions of war pity. They were enraged at the brutality of how the executed were treated. There were many who passed out at the sight of those on the cross.
Paul’s boast in Galatians 6:14 is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the place where God’s love for sinners exhausted His wrath for sinners. The cross is where love and justice meet and love won out. The cross is where God’s glory and our salvation become one.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus was not intimate with sin as we are. He had no idea what it was to be rebellious and separated from the Father. Even though He was tempted in every way He did not sin. He couldn’t! He was the embodiment of love for God and love for others. Even though He was being treated as a sinner by God and man, He did not sin.
His love for others was witnessed on the cross when He asked the Father to forgive His executioners in Luke 23:34. This verse reads, “He was saying.” He was continuously saying, “Father, forgive them.” He wasn’t pleading for them to stop but for their forgiveness. Jesus was showing them immense pity as they executed Him. While He was being crucified His constant thought and prayer for forgiveness was for His executioners and the mockers that witnessed His crucifixion. His actions were for us as well. The thief came to a saving faith on the cross. Jesus was most likely interceding for Him.
When we take a microscope to the actions of Jesus while being crucified we never see Him sin. If there was ever a person who had the right to retaliate it was Jesus. He could have called down His holy angels and the party would have been over in one action but He remained for us. His passion for others and His passion for His Father never ceased. His perfect obedience to the Fathers will was best displayed on the cross. The Father unleashed His entire wrath for repentant sinners onto His Son. He threw everything that Holy Wrath offers onto the person of Jesus while on the cross, and Jesus never flinched. Jesus is our example of suffering under trials. His faith was shown the brightest during the darkest time in human history.
The world shook when Jesus died on the cross. There was an earthquake, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, the sun was obscured from noon to 3pm, and dead saints became alive and roamed Jerusalem (Matthew 27:45, 51-53). That was one crazy event.
The whipping, the scourging, the mocking, the nakedness, the pain, the blood, the spitting, the crown of thorns and the humiliation of the cross is all for us. In it we see a depth of the glory of God that was never seen before. The glory of God and the salvation of sinners become most visible at the cross. The inner passions of God’s hatred and love for sinners are most visible at the cross. We see His compassion and His wrath in action simultaneously. His wrath for us was exhausted while His compassion for us still remains. Like Paul in Galatians 6:14 let our boast be in the cross. It is the place where we become one with the Lord Jesus and are reconciled to God forever. May our hearts be humbled and driven to praise our God for the love that He has shown us through the cross.