Matthew 27:27-56, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:16-37
Crucifixion was a slow and gruesome mode of punishment. It was a public spectacle that was reserved for the worst criminals. Death came from asphyxiation or shock.
Jesus hung on the cross for a period of six hours before He breathed His last. His wounded and naked body was displayed for all to see. Writhing in agony and groaning in pain, He bled from His hands, feet and forehead.
Around noon, darkness enveloped the city. Unusual as it was, it was also ominous. In Biblical times, darkness symbolized God’s wrath and judgement.
Jesus spent the last three hours of His life alone, in excruciating pain, and in utter darkness. It was not just physical and emotional pain that He endured. All our sins were laid upon Him. He bore all our guilt and shame. It is impossible for us to grasp the meaning and intensity of such suffering.
Jesus did not have to go through this ordeal, but He chose to, because of His great love for us.
He suffered, but because He was fully God, He was in complete control over His death. He gave up His spirit with a loud cry that echoed through the dark clouds. It was a shout of victory over death and Satan. The veil in the temple was torn in two, split from the bottom to the top. The earth shook violently.
On the Cross, the sacrificial Lamb of God fulfilled every requirement of the Law and every prophecy of the Scriptures. On the Cross, the sinless Passover Lamb became the ultimate sin offering for us, putting an end to oppression, death and destruction, and opening the door to freedom and eternal life.
Jesus’ passion, that is His sacrificial suffering, points to His passion, that is His intense love, for us. He was so passionate about rescuing us that He gave up His heavenly home and came down to earth to live among us. He was so passionate about saving us that He traded His life for ours.
The sign on Jesus’ cross read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Nearly 30 years had passed since the Magi from the east had come to Jerusalem in search of the king of the Jews. Guided by a star, they found Jesus in the small town of Bethlehem and worshipped Him.
Humanity’s search for a savior and longing for salvation culminates in Jesus Christ. Like the three wise men, let us fall on our knees and worship the King this Good Friday.
What words will you use to worship Jesus as you reflect on His final moments on the Cross?
How do you know you are saved? How do others know you are saved?
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