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. John 3:16
Crucifixion was used in the time of Jesus, and was a barbaric form of punishment. It was prophesied by David one thousand years before it even came into being. This horrible death was usually reserved for men who were not Roman citizens but were guilty of crimes against the Roman government.
When looking at crucifixion – the terrible punishment it inflicted on the body – try to imagine yourself hanging on a wooden cross with nails hammered through the bones of your hands and feet. All the while you are trying to push upwards through this agonizing pain in order to let air into your lungs. One can only imagine the horror of dyeing in such a slow and painful way. Sometimes the soldiers would break your legs so you could no longer push upwards, and at that point death would come more quickly.
Evil men have always been capable of such atrocities since the first killing when Cain, the first-born son of Adam and Eve, murdered his own brother Abel. Why did he did he do this? Because of Jealousy! God recognized his brother Abel’s sacrifice as the better one. Cain was guilty of this first murder but what makes it worse is that he never felt remorse. He did not see or recognize his wrong doing. Just as many of us today do not see our own sin nor the need to repent of it.
Now what if you were innocent as Jesus was, but were falsely accused by others? Would you not come to your own defense and show in whatever manner you could that you were innocent?
It is this part of Jesus being accused and refusing to defend himself, that stymies people. They say “If He was the Son of God as He claims, why didn’t He save Himself?”
So why didn’t He bring forward the proof of His innocence? It was not like He didn’t have the opportunity in which to do so. And if that didn’t work, all He needed to do was call down twelve legions of angels to intervene and save Him. But He never did! Why?
To begin to answer that question you must go to Scripture. Isaiah 55:8 tells us right off that our way of looking at a problem is not the way God looks at the same problem. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”
Sacrifice is also part of the answer to this question. The sacrifice of goats and lambs were required in the old testament to atone for the peoples sins. This had to be repeated over and over again for as we all know, people don’t stop sinning. The blood of animals had to be shed each year to keep atoning for all of these sins.
When Jesus gave His life for us on that cross, He became the last sacrifice required. God willingly gave us the perfect sacrifice, His only Son. If we believe in Him, then He will forgive us and save us from our sins. Now no other sacrifice is needed! Shedding of His blood paid the penalty for our past, present and future sins.
What did that take? It took the second part of the answer – Amazing Love! Not mankind’s kind of love that requires reciprocation or recognition, but a love so divine, so unlimited in its scope, that we cannot begin to fathom or understand it. Would you give your life for those who constantly reject and spew hatred at you?
A quote from Billy Graham gives a glimpse of this love… “True love is an act of the will – a conscious decision to do what is best for the other person instead of ourselves.”
Fortunately for mankind, Jesus death was not the end of the story but the beginning, as three days later He rose from the dead! His final sacrifice for you gives you the opportunity to accept His offer of eternal life.
Worship Jesus this Easter and thank Him for His perfect sacrifice, but don’t stop there, worship and thank Him all year long!