For just a few minutes, imagine going back in time almost 2,000 years, and picture yourself standing at the foot of the cross during the hours of Jesus' crucifixion. Then, look up at Him nailed to that rough-hewn old wooden cross where He hung for six hours in great pain...naked, bleeding, and desperately struggling for each breath. In that picture, your mind’s eye is seeing the cruelest method of execution devised by man in that day.
While that vivid image should form an unforgettable mental impression of the torture He endured, there is so much more. Specific details are recorded in Scripture accurately foretelling the agony of the crucifixion hundreds of years before it was invented, as well as details of the horrific event and the inhumane cruelties leading up to the crucifixion.
Consider a few of the details in that picture as revealed in God’s Word.
*Jesus was despised and rejected by men for who He claimed to be (Is. 53:3; Ps. 22:6).
*He was beaten, causing a disfigured appearance beyond human likeness (Is. 52:14).
*The merciless lashings He suffered tore the flesh from His bones (Ps. 22:17).
*They spit upon Him, ridiculed Him, and ripped the beard from His face (Is. 50:6).
*A crown of thorns was forced onto His head, then, they mocked Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”(Matt. 27:29).
*The spikes that held Him on the cross were driven through His hands and feet (Ps. 22:16).
*Then, at the third hour of the day (9 A.M.) in a place called Golgotha, that cross was raised up, and Jesus...God of all creation...God on earth in human flesh...was crucified (Jn. 19:17-18).
*An inscription was prepared and attached to the cross. The writing was, JESUS THE NAZARINE, THE KING OF THE JEWS (Jn. 19:19).
*The men divided His garments by casting lots (Ps. 22:18; Matt. 27:35).
*They laughed at Him saying, “He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord deliver Him.”(Ps. 22:7).
*Jesus was in unimaginable agony from His bones being pulled out of their joints, from His strength eroding, and from being tormented by an incredible thirst (Ps. 22:14-15; Jn. 19:28). Although He suffered great pain, He did not complain.
*From the sixth hour of the day to the ninth hour, darkness came upon the land (Matt. 27:45) as God’s wrath was poured out upon His Son who bore all the sins of mankind and who suffered spiritual death.
*About the ninth hour (3 P.M.) Jesus cried out, saying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”(Ps. 22:1-2; Matt. 27:46). His cry of despair was no doubt from God’s desertion.
*With His suffering ministry completed, Jesus said, “It is finished!” Then, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit (Jn. 19:30). His “It is finished” statement translated in the Greek means “paid in full.” The price for our redemption from sin was paid in full by our Lord’s death.
*Finally, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water poured out from the wound (Jn. 19:34). That act provided indisputable proof that Jesus had died.
As horrible as was the suffering Jesus endured at the hand of mankind, the worst torture was not visible to the human eye. On the cross that day was Jesus...the Son of God...the sacrificial Lamb of God who was blameless and without stain or blemish. It was God’s plan of redemption for mankind that Jesus who knew no sin would bear the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders in our place so that we might live. Jesus carried the full load of all the sins of humanity while on that cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us. During that time our holy God turned away from Him...for God would not, and can not, look upon sin.
Because God loves us so much, it was His plan that Jesus, His only begotten Son...the only One sinless and worthy, would become the sin sacrifice for all who might believe and receive Him (Jn. 3:16). Like a Lamb for the slaughter, Jesus went willingly to suffer one time and die on that cross...and He did it for you and me.
Scripture is very clear that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was a one-time event in which He paid the full price for all of mankind’s sin...past, present, and future.
Romans 6:10 NASB
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Hebrews 10:12 NKJV
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
If you or I were standing at the foot of the cross to witness that horrific crucifixion scene, how could we possibly say that although He suffered beyond our comprehension, it was not enough to pay the full price for all sin? As we looked upon Him agonizing under the immeasurable load of mankind’s sin, how could our human minds possibly think there is still more that must be done?
There is only one answer...we could not. Doing so would be to declare ourselves higher than God by over-riding and adding to His plan of redemption. Only the most arrogant, unbelieving human mind could conceive of such a thing. The perfect sacrifice for sin was given to the Father by the only One worthy to give the full sacrifice. No human being on the face of the earth can give to God that which was Messiah's to give. He purchased our full redemption with His life.
If we were at the foot of the old rugged cross today, we would see it standing empty as it has been for nearly 2,000 years. Jesus is no longer hanging there in agony, for His redemptive work on the cross was completed long ago. As He stated just before He died, “It is finished!”
After He died, Jesus’ body was taken down from that cross and was buried in a tomb. However, three days later He rose from the dead exactly as He said He would. As He had promised, Jesus conquered death and the grave...providing a sure hope of resurrection for all who believe by faith alone. Forty days later Jesus ascended into heaven, and today, is there preparing a place for each of His own...who will be taken Home with Him when He appears in the clouds for them.
However, there are untold millions of people who have been led to believe that Jesus is still hanging on that cross...continually suffering for their sins. Although clearly forbidden in Scripture, they form carved images of Him perpetually nailed to the cross. Even their perceived likeness of His physical appearance is contrary to Scripture. To them, their crucified Jesus is portrayed with almost no bodily damage...certainly not the One with a body shredded and torn beyond recognition as detailed in Scripture. The symbolism embraced is a man-created Jesus molded into the way they want Him to be. The Jesus they worship is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Exodus 20:4-5a NKJV
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
Leviticus 26:1 NASB
You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.
In addition, they do not believe, nor, do they accept His sacrifice and finished work on the cross as full payment for man’s lost condition. To them, believing in Jesus is only one part of a multi-step process of their church-mandated purifying works and rituals that must be performed throughout life and beyond...all in a vain attempt to make one more acceptable or worthy in the eyes of God.
Since they believe that Jesus’ death was only part of the process, then, they also believe they must “do-do-do” to have any hope of heaven. But, just how much “do-do-do” is enough? With a man-devised religious system of works and rituals, there can never be enough...nor is there any assurance of being heaven bound. Mankind professing to be wise, became fools (Rom. 1:22).
While Jesus was on the cross He said, “It is finished!” In effect He was saying, “’NO-NO-NO’, for I have done it all. There is nothing more you must do, or can do! Your sins will be forgiven and remembered no more if you only believe in Me by faith!”
Hebrews 10:18 NASB
Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Scripture clearly teaches that we must believe by faith alone...for works as an attempt to become more acceptable for salvation are all worthless in the eyes of God. If Jesus did not pay the whole sin penalty for us as many would believe, then, He suffered and died for nothing.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 11:6 NASB
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Titus 3:5 NASB
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Galatians 2:21 NKJV
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.
They choose to worship a suffering Christ Who is portrayed as always nailed to that cross. But, praise God...Jesus of the Bible is a risen Christ...a victorious Christ...One Who defeated death and the grave that we, too, might have the sure hope of eternal life through His finished work.
1 Corinthians 15:17 NJKV
And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
The Jesus of the Bible suffered once for all and died to wash away the sin of the whole world by the shedding of His precious blood on that cross. He was buried, but rose again on the third day defeating the grip of death for all who would believe by faith alone. That is the gospel message of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and is the most important message of Scripture. To be saved one must believe it by faith in its entirety. To add or delete anything from that message, or to believe any other form of gospel, is to subject ourselves to God’s curse (Gal. 1:8-9).
Standing at the cross today, you would quickly realize both visually and from Scripture Truth that He is not hanging there dead, nor, is He in a state of on-going suffering as you might have been led to believe. Rather, you would find the risen Lord of the Bible waiting for you at the foot of the cross with outstretched arms, and with piercing eyes gazing into yours. He would be passionately pleading for you to reach out to Him...to trust Him...to receive Him by faith alone...and to believe all of His promises.
We have His promise that in spite of where we are in life, no matter who we are, and no matter what we have done or believed during our life, there is room at the cross for all who choose to meet Him there. His sacrifice on the cross is a free gift offered to all who would humbly reach out and accept it by faith alone. Accepting it by faith alone means that anything we attempt to do of ourselves to earn salvation is all for nothing in the eyes of God. We must forever cast out any dependence on rituals, religious traditions, and idolatry...for they have no place in Biblical faith.
You can have absolute assurance that you belong to Him, but you must first realize you are eternally lost in sin and need the Savior in your life. Give your honor and glory only to Him...our risen Lord, who is no longer suffering on that cross, but rather, was victorious over death and the grave.
You must be ready to humbly submit yourself to Him, and repent of your unbelief and sin-filled life. Believe that He paid your sin penalty in full, and then, verbally confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Just call upon the Name of the Lord with faith and trust for a changed life in Him.
Romans 10:9-10 NIV
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Tell Him you believe what Jesus did on the cross for you, and that you want your sins forgiven and washed away. Ask Him to change your life that you might live it all for His honor and glory. If you truly have the sincere desire for a new life in Him and with Him, and have been convicted of your need for the Savior, then you might pray something like this:
"Oh God, help me! I need You in my life. I’m so sorry for the things I’ve done. I'm sorry I had turned my back on Your Truth for so long. I can't go on without You. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died for me, in my place, for all my sin. I believe that He rose from the dead and is in heaven today preparing a place for me. Oh God, forgive all my sins. By faith alone I now accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, and confess that He is Lord over all. Come into my heart and life now, today, and help me to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to You. Thank You in Jesus' Name - Amen!”
If you prayed a prayer like that from the depths of your heart, He will hear you. Then, as He has promised, you instantly become a child of the most-high God, and an heir to His kingdom forever. When you place Him first in your life each day with your complete dependence and trust, you will desire to have a personal relationship with Him...a concept foreign to most folks.
Biblical salvation is about having a faith-based relationship with Him. It is not a fear-based religious system of man-made rules, rituals, and traditions.
With that personal relationship, you will learn to pray and find comfort in His written Word. You will long to spend time with Him each day...just the two of you together in close fellowship. He will be your friend, your Savior, your Lord and Master, and Blessed Hope for all eternity. Only then can you say that you truly know Him.
He is patiently waiting to hear from you. The day is coming when it will be too late. Won’t you reach out by faith to receive Him into your life today?
If you just did that, then, unspeakable joy will fill your heart and soul. You can truly say with confidence, “I am His...and He is mine!” You will be eager to share the saving gospel message with others that they, too, might receive His matchless, free gift of salvation offered to all.
In your mind’s eye, picture that empty cross where Jesus once bore your load of sin. With all that is within you, just praise Him...thank Him...and give Him all the honor and glory, for it was on that cross where He paid it all for you!
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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