The crucifixion of Jesus
(By Rev Wilf Stanbury)
Read Matthew 27:32-56
Is this the blackest day in human history or the most glorious of days!
It’s never easy to read and try to enter into the sufferings of Jesus upon that cross.
The mockery of Jesus continues with Pilate placing the two prisoners, one either side of Him as if they are servants of “the king”.
Then there is the darkness, which adds to the horror of it all, as if nature could not look on what was happening!
And after three hours of struggling to breathe, death comes, but only after He had cried out “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” To those blinded by hatred and mob mentality, they failed to grasp just what Jesus was saying.
This is in fact the opening verse to Psalm 22.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This psalm is amazing on several counts
- In verses 6-8 It predicts the suffering and mockery Jesus would face.
- Verses 14-17 describe the agony of crucifixion, and in verse 18, it tells of Jesus’ clothes being gambled over, and speaks of Him being pierced.
This was written about a thousand years before, and at a time when the terrible death penalty of crucifixion had not been conceived.
But this psalm ends with a note of triumph, the psalmist will be delivered and praise God in the great assembly, v22 & 25.
Salvation will be extended to all, vv 26-29.
Yet having said this, we are still with the crucifixion, and all its horror!
As we read the account of it, do we see in it the awfulness of our sinful nature?
How bad must our sin be, to require this remedy? And how great must God’s love be, that He and His Son, would go though this to make us His special people!
Here we see God’s judgement on fallen mankind! Yet we are also witnessing God’s amazing grace, for He pours out His wrath upon His Son.
Jesus steps in and bears our punishment, and by so doing makes it possible for each one of us to not only experience the forgiveness of God but also for us to be adopted into the very family of God.
What a joy, what a wonder to experience this greatest of all gifts.
But is it something that happens automatically?
The answer to that is “no”. There are certain things we must do.
We need to believe in this transaction, and we need to put our trust in who Jesus is.
We need to recognise our own sinfulness, and how we are so totally undeserving we are of this amazing act of sacrifice, made on our behalf.
When we do this, the full effects of this death upon that cross opens up the way for us to experience the fullness of God’s love for us, as God pours forth His Holy Spirit into our lives.
With this comes a sense of joy, a desire to worship Him, and a readiness to share with others, the reason behind the change that has taken place in our personality and character.
We live in challenging times, with the onset of this coronavirus disease, some are experiencing anxiety, but we who know Jesus as our Saviour, remember what Paul says in Rom 8:31&32 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” and in v35 Paul asks the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
The answer Paul gives in vv37-39. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Remember that you are more than conquerors, because of what Jesus has made possible for each one of us upon the cross.
Though there is sadness over the Christian loved ones who have died, by this terrible disease, yet there is I think a greater heart break, and that is, concerning those who have heard about the crucifixion of Jesus, and yet have never chosen to put their faith in Him.
May we all make sure of our faith, and may we through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, experience the joy of being “more than conquerors,” and live lives that glorify Him.