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Foundations of Our Faith 5: Jesus Crucified

Foundations of Our Faith Day 5: Jesus Crucified

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30, ESV)

The day Christ rose from the dead is the only day that rivals this one in significance for mankind. On this day the worst of human sin was exposed, and the punishment for that sin was poured out upon Jesus on Mount Calvary, forever changing the course of mankind. It fulfilled prophecy, pleased God the Father, and paved the way for those who believe to be forgiven and free forever. But we do not want to hurry over the details; while we may never understand them in their entirety, they mean everything to those of us who believe. 

And so we will revisit this day—a day marked in history, discussed more than almost any other day, and recorded for the purpose of showing us the way of salvation. It’s a hard day to revisit, but without spending time here, we grow cold in our faith and forget how thankful we should be. And yet as we visit this time in history, we are only allowed in so much. For God, in His great mercy, shielded the scene in a cover of darkness as Jesus hung there suspended between earth and heaven, paying the debt for our sin. While the Father turned away from His suffering, He never terminated His love, and so we see His care in sparing His Son from peering, hate-filled eyes.

Crucifixion is one of the most brutal deaths. Not only did Jesus endure being crucified, but He did so with a body that had been beaten and a crown of thorns smashed into His skull. He hung there in humiliation—naked and forsaken, mocked and bloodied. He would stretch His body upwards trying to breathe as the force against Him would slowly and torturously steal His breath and His strength. A sign above Him naming Him King of the Jews also mocked Him. He was a King, yet not acknowledged by man. His friends fled. His Father separated Himself from Him for the first and only time, grieving His soul as He suffered there alone. 

The sharp nails, thrust into His hands and feet, were placed there by cruel tormentors who showed Him no mercy, even as He would forgive them and offer mercy in exchange for their cruelty. As He was lifted up, the weight against His arms and the downward force of His body would have surely caused unparalleled pain. People would look on, not out of love or compassion but out of curiosity and satisfaction. They longed for His death, to finally be free of this troublesome so-called Prophet. As God was grieved, surely heaven was silent, and all the angels felt intense sorrow as they watched Jesus willingly endure this for the sins of mankind. 

Does it grieve your heart? Do you feel the weight of those dark hours of His suffering? Oh how much deeper it should pierce my own heart as I write these words and reflect on all He endured at the hands of mankind—for me. And while He physically suffered immensely on the cross, we know that what He emotionally endured for us was even greater. It’s in those three dark hours that God poured out all the judgment for every one of our sins. It’s a scene so pivotal and monumental, yet one we can scarcely understand. We can’t understand how a perfect and holy Christ could become sin for us; we just accept that He did. 

As He neared the end of His suffering on the cross, He didn’t lose His strength; He simply relinquished it. Who else could, in their final moments of such suffering, loudly proclaim, “It is finished!”? The earth shook and the veil of the temple was ripped from the top to the bottom. Even the centurion standing guard couldn’t dismiss these events as coincidence, and He confidently proclaimed, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39). As He died, Jesus dismissed His spirit—still fully in control. 

Use your imagination with me and stand just now beneath that cross. Let’s ask some searching questions: Who is this Man to you? How does His death touch your heart? What does it all mean to you? Our prayer at Vine to Branches is that you would know this Jesus, not as a prophet or historical character, or even the main character of the Bible, but that you would know Him as Savior. Recognize and accept what He did for you on that cross, and allow His death to rescue you from your sin. 

This horrible, terrible moment in history has incredible beauty in it too. It’s a beautiful scene for the lost because in it we see hope for mankind. We see Someone who was not only able to pay the price for our redemption but also willing. We see love that is unmatched! And what we hope you see is the truth of the gospel message: because of His great love for you and for me, He died so that we might live. Don’t miss the message of the cross. Your eternity rests on how you respond.

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