The picture of the crucifixion is often somewhat “sterilized” in our Christian culture today. But the act of crucifixion was a terrible, offensive and bloody ordeal. If we could actually see a crucifixion we would probably be sickened by the depth of abuse and suffering. It is almost beyond our comprehension today. A crucifixion was a public display for all who wished to see.
Added to the physical abuse and suffering would be the shame and humiliation of being put on public display, usually in nakedness, and after firstly being beaten (scourged) nearly half-to-death.
Jesus chose, voluntarily, to undergo this kind of death! And for what purpose?
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
1 Peter 1:18
Peter tells us that Jesus died in order to ‘redeem’ us. And Paul tells us why Jesus redeemed us.
“He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
Jesus came to do the will of the Father. And the writer in Hebrews says “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” We have been “made holy”! It is only because of the death of Jesus and the pouring out of his blood on the cross of crucifixion that we can be “made holy” in the sight of God. Whether or not we always “feel” holy, in God’s sight we are holy if we have accepted the free gift of his salvation and have received the Holy Spirit as promised in the above passage of Galatians. To be made holy means that we are separated for God’s purposes. We are no longer to live by our own wishes and desires but we are to give our lives over to what God wants in our lives.
“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
I particularly like the phrase “take up their cross daily”. It is a command to a continuous way of life, but at the same time it is almost as if we have a chance to start over every day. Whenever we fail we can always decide as we get up in the morning to “take up our cross” and live for Him TODAY!
Think about: What area of your life are you keeping to yourself? What does "living the way God wants us to live" force you to do this week?
Prayer: Lord, as we come up to the weekend we focus on your sacrifice for us, help me to recognize the areas in my life that I am not submitting to your will. Let me see clearly your desire for me and give me the strength to live it out.
- Dwight Suiter
An engineer and student of the Word, Dwight has been a member at the River for 9 years. He and his wife Betty have been married for 48 years. They have 3 children and 10 grandchildren.