Contemplating the cross

Daily Readings: Exodus 23-24, Psalm 26, Matthew 27

…and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

-Matthew 27:29-30, 45-50

Reading about the crucifixion of Christ once a year around Easter is not nearly enough.

I know that I would personally prefer to spend all of my time studying the message of Jesus, thinking about how it applies to my own life, and looking for ways to implement his wise words in ways to advance his Kingdom here on Earth.

Spending time contemplating the cross and all that it entailed, is not a pleasant use of time. If your knowledge of the crucifixion of Christ is limited to the account found in the Bible, I would encourage you to read this article on how crucifixion actually works. It is a brutal way to die.

How did crucifixion kill?

It is hard to fully appreciate the debt Jesus paid on our behalf unless we are willing to fully count the cost. He gave it all and he gave it all in one of the most painful, humiliating, and torturous ways possible. Knowing it was coming to an end, we once again see the fact that Jesus was 100% human along with being fully God on display. He couldn’t simply shrug off the pain. As he was about to give up his life he asked his father in Heaven, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

I can only imagine how God the father’s heart must have absolutely broken in this moment. And yet Jesus came down to Earth willingly. He knew full well what it would entail and still decided to give himself up to take our place.

We should stop and consider the cross more than once a year.

Jesus gave it all.

I find myself slipping into a, “Why did this have to happen to me? Why do I have to deal with this right now? Why can’t God’s call on my life be easier?” mentality from time to time. Then I remember the cross.

Spending time in meditation and prayer truly contemplating the cross and everything that came with it is so good for our soul. It is easy to want to have a self-help version of the Christian faith that only focuses on the positive. A faith that is always upbeat even when challenging us in how we currently live.

From time to time I want to break down in my living room at 6 AM and just ball my eyes out at the sacrifice that was made on my behalf. I want to really picture what it would have been like. I want to play the movie scene in my head, knowing it was done for me. And I want to weep tears of profound sorrow mixed with extreme, uncontrollable joy and appreciation.

Then I want to go live out of that joy and freedom. I want to go truly allow Jesus to walk with me for the entire day, not just during my Jesus time in the morning. I want all of my time to be Jesus time, whatever the day brings.

He deserves it.

Today, I will honor his sacrifice.

Thought to ponder

Picture the cross. Really picture it. Allow God to move in your heart in such a powerful way that your appreciation for the sacrifice overflows.

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