There is no other way – Part 5
The soldiers put a robe across His shoulders, placed a stick in His hand and pressed a circle of branches covered with long thorns on His head (v. 29). The soldiers mocked Him and struck Him across the face and head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp (vv. 30-31). The heavy beam of the cross was tied to Jesus’ shoulders. He began the slow journey to Golgotha. The weight of the wooden beam, together with sheer physical exhaustion, caused Him to fall.
He tried to rise, but could not. Simon was then pressed into service to bear Christ’s cross. At Golgotha, the crossbeam was placed on the ground and Jesus was laid on it. His arms were stretched along the beam and a heavy, square, wrought iron nail was driven through His hands (or wrists), first into the right, then into the left hand, and deep into the wood. Next Jesus was lifted up by means of ropes or ladders, the crossbeam was bound or nailed to the upright beam and a support for the body was fastened on it. Lastly, His feet were extended and a larger piece of iron was driven through them. Jesus was now a pathetic spectacle, blood-streaked, covered with wounds and exposed to the view of people.
He experienced hours of pain in His entire body, fatigue in His arms, great waves of cramps in the muscles and skin torn from His back. Then another agony began — a crushing pain deep in the chest as fluid began to compress the heart. He felt an intense thirst (John 19:28) and was aware of the abuse and ridicule of those who passed by the cross (vv. 39-44). Crucifixion was a feared and shameful form of execution. The victim was forced to carry his cross along the longest possible route to the crucifixion site, as a warning to bystanders.
Jesus was nailed to the cross; death came by suffocation, as the person lost strength and the weight of the body made breathing more and more difficult. Crucifixion was a hideously slow and painful death. Jesus’ sorrow, grief and pain were at their worst, when He experienced separation from God, as the sinner’s substitute (Mat 27:46). He died forsaken, that we might never be forsaken (cf. Ps 22). Thus, we are redeemed by the sufferings of Christ (1 Pet 1:19).
The physical agony was horrible, but even worse was the period of spiritual separation from God. Jesus suffered this double death so that we would never have to experience eternal separation from God. Finally, was the cry of anguish (Mat 27:50). In spite of all these horrendous torture and sufferings, Jesus asked God to forgive the people who were putting him to death—Jewish leaders, Roman politicians and soldiers, bystanders—and God answered that prayer by opening up the way of salvation even to Jesus’ murderers (Luke 23:34). The Roman centurion and soldiers, who witnessed the Crucifixion said,
“Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Soon, many priests were converted to the Christian faith (Acts 6:7). Because we are all sinners, we all played a part in putting Jesus to death. The gospel—the Good News—is that God is gracious. He will forgive us and give us new life through his Son.
Syncretism is a sign of ongoing spiritual warfare and attack on the church
Satan knows Jesus is God, but what upsets him is the truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven and he does not want people to know and believe this truth, so that he can recruit more followers who reject Jesus into perdition.
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