Agony isn't even the right word. Torture doesn't do it justice.
Everyone who loved Him was watching. His own mother endured such emotional pain, I cannot even express my deep sympathy thinking about her. Her child; her baby boy.
They beat him in the head over and over and over.
They whipped his body until his ribs were visible; no skin to cover the bones-and then they did it some more. Whipping bone from bone. No more flesh to be caught. And all of this while mocking him with their mouths, which to some of us is more than we can bear. They shoved a spear through his side; maybe they wiggled it around a little as to cause more pain.--I'm almost sure they did. And somewhere in the midst of all of this, they had pierced his hands and feet to a cross. Or maybe the wrist and ankle, depending on the amount of pain they were trying to inflict.
His body hung.
Medically speaking, we generally know what happens as a person is tortured in an act of Crucifixion. When the legs are relaxed, the person's weight is supported on the bones of the wrist pressing down on spikes between the bones of the forearm. This causes excruciating pain. When the victim can no longer endure it, he can't help trying to stand up. This tears through the tissues of his feet, and as he rises, his already lacerated back scrapes along the rough wood of the cross. The intense agony and the eventually open wounds lead to dehydration and terrible thirst.The pleurum -- and possibly the lungs -- gradually fills with fluid, and eventually the heart is compressed. As the victim weakens, his struggles lessen, and the accumulation of fluid accelerates until finally the heart cannot beat any longer or no longer has the strength to do so.
But Jesus had the strength to speak to the thief on the cross next to Him. He also cried out in the midst of His body shutting down. It was in this moment that many realized He was, in fact, Lord. It took everything mentioned, and more for them to see. Isn't that like us? How much proof we need.
The Bible talks about the surrender of Jesus' spirit and how the earth quaked. Can you imagine? There was an earthquake at the death of our Lord. The Bible also speaks about how the saints who were 'sleeping,' (dead) awoke. How awesome! Because just like that, Jesus said, "It is finished."
Does it sadden you like it does me? That at any moment He could have spoken those words and surrendered to Heaven? But He didn't. Because there had to be a gateway for our salvation, and it was only by the blood. His blood. And He knew it.
And He loved us. And He still does.
You see, in the Old Testament, a covenant was cut using the blood of an animal as a sacrifice. This was the beginning of grace and not law. Jesus made a way for life and not death eternally. And He wanted to. Because of Jesus, we don't have to walk to an alter with some kind of animal every time we sin, slice it's neck open and let it's blood pour out as a visible way of forgiveness.
We simply get to ask. Because of the cross. Of course Easter is about the resurrection. But It's all about the cross. All of it.
My prayer today is that we would all see the cross as it was. As it is. Not pleasing and perfect or even holy and sanctified. Bloody, hideous, painful, sacrificial. He did it for us. And yet we still don't want to accept Him. My prayer is that today, we can open our hearts and realize that He didn't owe us anything. He doesn't even force us to love Him. He just asks us to. So my prayer is that we would-
Fully. Completely. Finally.
Today, it's about the cross. About love. About life. But about the cross. Do share with me how you see the cross, or what you do to remember it. Share with me your salvation or how Jesus is alive in you today! I can't wait to hear from you.
Oh, and I urge you to visit Ann's blog. It touches me on the deepest levels and I know you will enjoy it as well. Today, a video of our Lord at the cross. A sweet reminder, but still nothing that compares to His true experience. I just can't imagine...