Posts Tagged ‘Crucifixion


Loving Like Jesus

Jesus humbled Himself and left Heaven’s throne for a lowly manger in Bethlehem. He went from being adored by angels to serenaded by goats and sheep. Jesus humbled Himself to the point of being crucified. Paul described Jesus to the Philippians in this way:

And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

Jesus died on a Roman cross for your sins and my sins. Crucifixion was a horrible and humiliating way to die. Why would Jesus allow this to happen to Himself? It was because of God’s unconditional, unlimited and unselfish love for the world. God loves us all so much that He would rather suffer and die than live without us for eternity. If Jesus loves us like this, then we should love each other like this. We need to learn to humble ourselves and put Jesus first and others second. Then, we will truly be the church that reflects the love of our Savior.

Forgive Who?

On what we know as Good Friday, Jesus was crucified for the sin of the world. Luke records the scene in this way. He wrote:

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:33-34 (NIV)

While we don’t know their names or their crimes, we know that it should have been us. We could have been either the criminal on His right or His left. We should have felt the nails. We should have been left there to die for our own sins and transgressions. Yet, there is the perfect Son of God with thorns on His head and nails in His hands and feet praying to His Father, “Forgive them…” Forgive who? Forgive those who were killing Him? What love! Forgive those who were insulting Him and spitting on Him? What mercy! Forgive us who were the true source of His suffering? What grace! Jesus took our punishment when He took our place and that is what Good Friday is all about.

God’s Will To Suffer?

This is going to sound strange, but have you ever thought that suffering could be part of God’s will for your life? Peter did. In fact, he points to Jesus as an example. He writes:

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. – 1 Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)

God would rather you suffer persecution because you’re doing the right things instead of doing the wrong things. Jesus suffered through the cross because He did the right things. He lived a holy and righteous life and His own people killed Him for it. They put Him to death on a cross, but God had the final say. God raised Him back to life on the 3rd day just as He said He would. It was God’s will for this to happen because all of humanity could be saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Do the right things, even if it brings persecution knowing that God’s will is best.

No One Else Like Jesus

Jesus suffered and died on the cross. Why? Why would He endure such a thing as the excruciating pain of crucifixion. The word “excruciating” literally means “out of the cross.” It was a word invented to describe the pain of crucifixion. Why would the perfect Son of God willingly go through the cross? Peter writes:

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:24-25 (NIV)

Through the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus, we are set free from the power of sin. We are healed by His wounds. We are able to return to a right relationship with God. We no longer live for sin, but we live for Jesus. We find rest and hope and joy and peace through Him. We find our true home in Him. We can live the life we long to live through Jesus. No one else is like Him.

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

It is Good Friday. Luke wrote in his Gospel:

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:33-34 (NIV)

I wonder if Jesus still asks the Father to forgive us because we don’t know what we’re doing. When we hurt those whom we love, do we know what we’re doing? When we complain to God about our situations and circumstances, do we know what we’re doing? When we sin against God, do we know what we’re doing? Yet God, in His goodness and grace, continues to forgive us even though we have no idea what we’re doing. Jesus was beaten, tortured and crucified because we don’t know what we’re doing. Remember His sacrifice today for by it you have been saved, forgiven and set free. Even though we don’t know what we’re doing, God knows what He’s doing. He’s loving, forgiving and transforming each of us by His love.

Hanging On His Words

Luke 22:47-48 (NIV)
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
I wonder how they did it.  Luke makes it clear that the chief priests, teachers of the law and religious leaders in Jerusalem were looking for a way to kill Jesus during the week of Passover, but they could not do it.  Why?  Because the people “hung on His words” (Luke 22:48, NIV).  They were captivated by Jesus.  He did not teach like the teachers of the law, but instead taught as One with authority (Matthew 7:29).  His words were filled with grace and truth.  His words were filled with compassion and mercy.  His words were challenging and powerful.  The crowds of people could not get enough of Him.
So how did the religious leaders of Israel convince these same crowds to cry out, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”?  This was a punishment reserved for the worst of criminals and now the people were demanding it for Jesus.  How could this be possible?  What did He do?  What crime did He commit?  He did not lead an invasion against the Romans.  He led an invasion into the hearts of people.
He is still leading this invasion to this day as people all across the globe discover that Jesus holds the words of life (John 6:68).  We trust in His words to give us hope and eternal life.  We still hang on His words.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank Your merciful plan of salvation.  It cost Jesus His life in exchange for mine.  Thank You for the words of eternal life that Jesus spoke.  Help me to hang on His every word that I may have hope in Him.  Amen.

Surrendering To The Spirit

The proof of our inability to be saved through the law of Moses is this: Jesus had to die.  Paul tells the Galatian believers that Jesus “was clearly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1, NIV).  If we were even remotely capable of keeping the law (and being saved by it), Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.  The curse of the law is that it condemns us.  The law shows us that we are sinners, but does nothing to release us from that condemnation.  We are cursed and condemned if we try to follow the law in order to be saved!  Jesus took that curse upon Himself on the cross and suffered our condemnation.  We must simply accept His loving gift of grace by putting our faith and trust in Him for salvation.  We do this by believing that He is the Son of God, our Savior; repentance from sin; public confession of our faith and being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Our sins are then forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, dwelling inside of us, transforms us from the inside out.  The job of sanctification is the job of the Holy Spirit.  If you showed up at my church this Sunday and I walked up to you and asked you if you were ready to preach the sermon, you might look at me as if I had a third eye growing out of my forehead.  You might say something like, “No!  It’s not my job!”  I would say, “You’re right.  It’s my job.  I’ll do it.”  When we try to sanctify ourselves by trying to be good enough or following the rules, we are trying to do the job of the Holy Spirit.  Rather than trying to keep the law and thereby keep ourselves saved, we need to surrender daily to the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Quit trying to do the Spirit’s job!  Submit to what the Spirit is doing in your life.  Trust God’s Spirit to transform you instead of trying to do the work of transformation in your life.  Do not resist the Spirit, but surrender to His leading instead.
Galatians 3:1-14 (NIV)

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

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