18 Apr Excruciating
This week, we are reflecting on the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to save us from our sins, which we remember each year on Good Friday. To read the daily devos focused on Easter and the resurrection of Jesus based on Pastor Mark’s new book “Alive: 21 Reasons to Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ”, click here. For a free PDF copy of Pastor Mark & Dr. Breshears’ Doctrine book, click here, and read chapter 8 about the cross.
Deut. 21:22-23 – “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.”
According to an old, beloved hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross”, written in 1912 by a pastor named George Bennard, the cross is “an emblem of suffering and shame”. In the second century AD, in the time of church father Tertullian, Christians started using the cross as their own emblem of remembrance.
In the days of Jesus, the crucifixion, which was execution by nailing someone to a cross, was a well-known mode of state-sponsored terror. When he was a young boy, there was a mass crucifixion of Jews for an uprising against Rome. The Romans perfected this method, and they were public, like beheadings. Imagine going to your local mall or park and seeing those near death hanging on a cross; that’s what it was like in those days.
This method of torture and death was so dehumanizing that when women were crucified, they turned them around backward, so people didn’t have to see their struggling, tortured faces. Romans themselves were not crucified and historian Josephus called it the “most wretched of deaths”. In fact, the word “excruciating” literally means “from the cross”.
This is the way Jesus was killed for you and for me – to save us from our own sins so that we could have eternal life and communion with Him. Not because of any wrongdoing of His own, but out of His deep, unchanging love for us. Let this strengthen your faith in a Jesus who loved you so much to withstand the worst form of torture to give us eternal life, salvation, and relationship with Him.
What would it have been like for you to be standing with John and Mary at the feet of Jesus on the cross?
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