Stand Before The Cross
by Mark Bradley
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Stand Before The Cross
He was arrested last night by the temple guards and taken to the high priest. He has seen the representatives of the Roman government and been found innocent of the charges leveled against Him. He hasnít eaten or slept all night. He has spent the night being beaten and tortured mercilessly. He has been punched, whipped and spit upon for the amusement of the soldiers that beat Him. His wounds have not been attended to. He is bleeding, bruised and weakened by the longest night imaginable.
To further mock Him, He has been named the King of the Jews by the Roman magistrate. They take a crown of thorns and press it into His brow. Blood runs down His bruised cheeks. They wrap Him in a purple robe and mockingly bow down to Him. Then they rip the robe from Him, re-opening the wounds that were left by the whip.
He has been falsely accused, betrayed by His disciples and His people, and has stood in a court of men that scream for His death. These people, when given the choice, chose to release a criminal rather than Him. Trying to keep the peace, Pilate sentences Him to death, and washes his hands of the ordeal.
He has walked the road that leads to Golgotha. Through the streets, He was lead by the sting of the whip from the soldier in charge of the detail. He was forced to carry His own cross, weighing around 60-70 pounds, to the hill where He would die. He fell several times, leaving the soldier no choice but to have one from the crowd carry the cross beam the rest of the way.
He was laid out on the ground with His cross beneath Him. The soldiers dropped His limp body on the cross and positioned His hands and feet. One at a time, the soldiers nailed His hands to the cross, placing each nail in the space between the bones in His wrist. Then they put His feet together, and nailed them to the cross.
The cross is then lifted by the soldiers and dropped into a hole so it will stand on itís own. When the cross was dropped, His body was again jolted with an excruciating pain from the violence of the act. The crowd taunts him further, as they give Him vinegar to drink. A sign is hanged above His head saying King of the Jews in the three major languages spoken in that realm.
He is challenged by one of the three that is crucified with Him, and defended by the other. Then, He asked to not forget the thief that hangs beside Him. Even now, He is merciful to those that ask Him, and promises that the thief will be in paradise with Him this day.
He is dying slowly. Crucifixion can take hours. Pressured by a Jewish law, He is pierced in the side to quicken His death. A soldier takes his pilon, or spear, and enters the flesh from the right. He thrusts the spear far enough in that it pierces His heart. When the javelin is withdrawn, both blood and water flow from the wound.
He cries out to His Father, seeking forgiveness for those that commit this act. His Father has turned His back on Him, unable to see the sin that has been heaped on the shoulders of His only Son. The angels that stand ready to rescue Him and execute all that stand on Earth are held back by the orders of the Father. (Luke 22:47-23:47)
In this brief description, you have just witnessed the most painful of all executions. It is painful. It is brutal. It is humiliating. And it is the only way that you or I would ever get to stand before God the Father and not be judged for our sin. This was the only way to escape the realm that was created for the Devil and his angels. This was the only way to cleanse the human race once and for all. (John 3:13-18)
It is here that we stand now. We are at the feet of the cross. This is the place where our salvation was bought. Here the price was paid for every sin by every man, woman, and child. It is here that Christ humbled Himself to the pain, the torture, and the humiliation of crucifixion for the salvation of the world. No other sacrifice would have been sufficient for the justification of man. The sacrifice had to be perfect. The sacrifice had to be Jesus.
Stand now. Stand before the cross and look upon the One that takes away the sin of the world. Stand and know that He is God, and yet cares enough for you that He was willing to die for your redemption. Stand, and know that, though He was sacrificed for our sins, Death will not hold Him. He will conquer Death in three days, proving once and for all the power he has to save man from the fiery eternity that awaits the unjustified.
Stand now. Stand and try to explain the reasons that you still sin. You give yourself to so many others, yet you avoid the one that loved you enough to die for you. You give yourself to many other causes and occupy yourself with many other duties; yet you cannot find the time to give yourself to the work that is your true purpose.
Stand and tell Jesus Christ about how bad you have it in this world. Tell Him you canít obey Him. Tell Him that His way is too hard. Tell Him that youíll get around to it. Look Him in the eyes and tell Him that He is not worth your time, your effort, or your pride. I dare you. Stand and tell the one that died for you doesnít deserve your precious energy. Tell Him about all the times you tried and found it too hard to live according to His will. I double dog dare you.
Iíll save you the time. You canít do it. If you come to this place and look at the Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, you will not be able to say it. If you come to the place where you are at the feet of Calvary, you will be overcome with the emotion that He is here for you. If man were not the sinful creature that he is, Christ would never have had reason to be here now. If man was just another of His creations, then the love of God would not have put Jesus here.
Do you understand that? Jesus died for you. He went through all this for man. He loved you so much that He had to redeem you from the fate of Hell. He could not bare the thought of the Satan tormenting you for all eternity, so He provided a way for you to escape. No greater love hath any man, than that he lay down his life for his FRIEND.
His love is great enough to hold you. His wisdom is great enough to guide you. His mercy is great enough to forgive you. His grace is enough to keep you. He is great enough to overcome any and all that you see as impossible. He sustains your every need, and blesses you more than can be realized.
Stand still, and look upon Jesus Christ. He is the King of Kings. He is the Lord of Lords. He is God, and He loves you. Stand, and He will stand with you.
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