What does the cross of Jesus mean?

Hey guys.  So I woke up this morning and as usual did my personal devotional and read today’s reading from my daily devotional book, Snapshots of God by author Richard W. Coffen.  And I…I just had to share it with you guys via the blog.  I hope it touches you the same way it did me.

(Emphasis added)

The Meaning of the Crucifixion

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

It was an unthinkable turn of events.  First, jesus had been betrayed by one of His companions…for 30 pieces of silver, the going price of a slave!  Next, the disciples fled like skittering cockroaches when a light is turned on.  Third, He was subjected to a couple of sham trials, during the first of which Peter took a solemn oath that he didn’t know Jesus.  Fourth, Jesus was dragged before both Pilate and Herod and falsely accused as well as mocked.  Fifth, Pilate, despite proclaiming Jesus’ innocence, had Him flogged, an ordeal some people never lived through.  After that, they heaved the crossbeam of the cross onto His shoulders as Jesus manfully stumbled off toward Golgotha, amid the jeers of the sarcastic rabble.  Seventh, brutish soldiers stripped Him naked and hammered nails through His wrists and ankles and into the cross.

The physical agony of having His back shredded to ribbons from the scourging, of having a diadem of thorns scrunched down onto His head, of being nailed to the cross, and of hanging on the cross in the heat of the day can hardly be imagined.  Crucifixion was a grizzly form capital punishment, and it often took several days for the victim to succumb to their hunger, dehydration, exhaustion, exposure, loss of blood, cardiac failure, and possibly asphyxiation.

additionally, Jesus’ emotional anguish, which had begun in the Garden of Gethsemane with His betrayal and was followed by the desertion of His disciples, the fabricated testimony o flying witnesses, the ranting of the mobs incited by religious leaders, and the sense of God’s abandonment, can scarcely be understood.

In the face of such physical and psychological torture, that Jesus maintained any semblance of sanity boggles the mind.  yet at the height of His misery His thoughts turned to His mother, whom He entrusted to John’s care.

Even more amazing, it seems to me, was what Jesus said as the Roman soldiers nailed Him to the cross:  “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  How could Jesus feel so benevolently toward those capable of such brutality?  Maybe He’d lost His mind after all!  Surely a “normal” person would have wished for their comeuppance, especially when He had the power to summon 12 legions (50,000 to 80,000) of angels (Matt. 26:53) in His defense.

Then it dawned on me — that’s what Jesus’ ordeal was all about…FORGIVENESS.

Love and God Bless,

– T

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