The Cross of Jesus Christ 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” – Romans 3:23

Yesterday, we discussed the fact that Christ died. Today we will discuss how he died – through crucifixion. The Bible gives us only a few details about crucifixion. The reason for this could be because, in the ancient world, it was a common practice that was witnessed publicly. As a result, you knew exactly what it was. And once you saw it, you would never forget it. Crucifixion was state-sponsored terror. 

According to historians, it was first invented by the Persians about 800 years before Christ. It originally began as a torturous method of slow, painful death. They would take the equivalent of a very large spear and run it through a man’s midsection. Then, they would dig a hole and drop that large spear into it leaving the impaled man to painfully die over the course of many days. Eventually, what was invented by the Persians was perfected by the Romans. They became the experts in state-sponsored terror and incredible pain. They are the ones who added the cross bar so that you were nailed through the most sensitive nerve centers on the human body – the hands and the feet. 

Crucifixion was painfully slow death by asphyxiation. Medical experts who have examined this reported that, as you hang on the cross, nailed through your hands and feet, you cannot garner sufficient oxygen in your lungs to sustain life so you would pass in and out of consciousness. This resulted in people hanging on a cross, passing in and out of consciousness, for upwards of nine days. 

All of this was done openly, publicly, and shamefully. This was done where there would be large gatherings of people. Imagine you were coming out of the grocery store and a man was crucified. Imagine you took your children to the park and a man was crucified. Jesus was crucified in this way. In front of his enemies and his closest family member –

His own mother. 

As if this information wasn’t enough, you should know that the pain of crucifixion is so intense that in the English language, we actually devised a word to explain it because there was not a sufficient word to encapsulate the depth of the suffering. The word excruciating literally means “from the cross.”

Jesus ultimately suffers from the cross and dies on the cross. To ensure that He was dead, a Roman executioner took a spear and ran it under His rib cage into His side so that it punctured His heart sack. The Bible tells us that water and blood flowed from His side which showed that His heart was punctured. Jesus emotionally, spiritually, and physically died of a broken heart.

Why did Jesus need to endure this? Why did Christ die for our sins? When talking about sin, you need to know that our God is a God of unchanging law. Sin is the breaking of God’s laws. We have all “sinned and fall[en] short of the glory of God,” as Romans 3:23 says. We don’t learn about sin in school. It’s never about what we did wrong but about what someone else did wrong to us. We’re taught to be victims devoid of personal responsibility.  

Sin is both a condition and an action. As a condition, it is an inherited nature that is imputed to you, that every one of us is part of a fallen, rebellious, sinful race by nature, by condition. Sin is not just what we do, sin is who we are. It is also an action. This includes our thoughts. Do you know that God knows your thoughts? There is nothing hidden from the sight of God. Sin also includes your emotions. There is no part of you that you can trust. You can’t just follow your heart. Your heart is deceitful and wicked. You can’t just follow your mind because it is hostile toward the truth of God. You need to know that every part of who we are apart from Jesus Christ is impacted and affected by sin. 

At the end of the day, Jesus is going to rule over you forever. He will do so as a friend, if you receive Him, or He will do so as foe, if you reject Him. This is the most important decision you will ever make.

Take some time to reflect on how and from what Christ has saved you through His death. 

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