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The Last Week: Friday (6 of 8)
Series: The Last Week of Jesus' Life
Max Lucado writes in his booklet, "When you think of the cross, what thoughts come to your mind? Steeples? Gold necklaces? Churches? Or do your thoughts go deeper? Do words like these come to mind? Jesus, Nails, Blood, Pain, Death. Tomb. Tomb? Empty. Joy. Promise. Life. Savior! The words of the cross, so full of pain. So full of passion. So full of promise. God's promise. His promise to you. His promise to do whatever it takes to save your soul."
The cross was what it took to bring about our salvation. Execution in the form of the cross was the preferred method of punishment for the Romans. The cross was a brutal and shameful as well as extremely painful way of punishing criminals. Some didn't survive the beating that was given prior to the crucifixion. The lashes of the cat of nine tails literally tore into the flesh and caused extreme bleeding and trauma. The criminal was often forced to carry their own cross to Golgotha, the place of the skull, Calvary in Latin. Once the prisoner was nailed to the cross, the weight of the person made it very difficult for the person to breath at all. Eventually, the person died from a loss of blood, exposure, and suffocation when they were no longer able to hold their body erect. The terror of crucifixion was that the pain of the whole process was not enough to kill the victim, and the person was left to die a slow and agonizing death.
In the Friday story of passion week, we see Jesus the innocent and pure son of God, the Lamb of God, the holy one being crucified among common criminals while Roman guards mocked him, ignored him, and gambled for his belongings. Would this be how the Jesus story would end? Was it over? What happened on those hours on the cross is precious to us because in those hours of darkness, the light of God's grace was shining brightly. How appropriate that Jesus would be crucified between two criminals. ...
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