In the book of Luke (Luke 23:32-38), it tells the story of the cross. This story is one-of-a-kind. Jesus was God in human form “and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himselfby becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). If Jesus was God in human form, then he would have felt the same pain we would have experienced if we were tortured and nailed to the cross.
Jesus was blameless. He did not deserve to be beaten beyond recognition, mocked, and nailed to a cross to suffer a long agonizing death. Even in His suffering, He had compassion for us. While He hung on the cross, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34). Imagine dying on a cross and being mocked by the people who used to love you. Would you still have compassion and love for those people? Probably not. God’s love is much deeper than ours.
If you were nailed to a cross, after nearly beaten to death, you would be in extraordinary pain. This kind of pain cannot be fully described in words, because it was so intense. No other man on earth has experienced the level of pain that Jesus endured. In addition to suffering on the cross, Jesus must have felt the ultimate rejection by the ones that used to love Him. These people in the crowd, mocking Him, were those that used to follow Him and believed in His miracles. I cannot even imagine experiencing this kind of rejection. In the midst of all this chaos, Jesus did not condemn us or even reject us for our actions, but, instead, He forgave us.
While Jesus was taking His last breaths on the cross, His final words were “it is finished” (John 19:30). “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” (Matthew 27:51). When those words were spoken, we had access to God. Jesus paved the way for us in the most tragic death.
Jesus replaced the rituals of burnt offerings in the Old Testament by giving Himself up as a burnt offering. In the Old Testament, the people in the Bible would ask God for forgiveness for their sins by sacrificing an animal, in specific terms, to honor Him. Burnt offerings was a sacred ritual. Leviticus 1:10 says “if the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect.” Jesus is perfect in every way!
One of the most popular and memorized Scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The agape love expressed in this Scripture is not something we can wrap our minds around. It cannot be explained why someone would sacrifice himself to save the world. This proves God’s love is unconditional, with no strings attached.
The cross symbolizes hope and forgiveness. Jesus paid for our debts by dying on the cross. The cross becomes just another story. The meaning of the cross becomes numb, and we forget what it represents. We should never let the story of the cross grow numb in our hearts.
- When you read the story of the cross, what emotions do you feel and why?
- Do you feel that Jesus dying on the cross was enough for our sins?
- Has the cross become numb to you? Is it just another story?
- CHALLENGE: The cross is a story about redemption. God sacrificed His son to have a relationship with us. I encourage you to evaluate your relationship with Christ. Ask God to show you areas that need to be strengthened to have a better relationship with Him.