Was anger arbitrator or antagonist to the price of heaven?

Dear Reader, in navigating the road to the cross we have reflected on some of the hardest parts of the journey. Now we consider whether anger was an arbitrator or antagonist to Jesus paying the price of heaven.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has something he or she excels at. Years ago one of our nephews came home from preschool proudly wearing a “Good Napper” sticker.

What an empowering teacher to deliberately look for the good in her little charges. The “Good Napper” is now the proud dad of four pretty terrific kids.

The Roman civilization was pretty good at things, too. Creating a republic form of government, architecture, building a road system that still supports traffic in some areas. Not bad for a civilization without digital technology. 

Having seen the Colosseum first-hand, it totally took my breath away. Knowing that in its heyday the floor could be flooded enough to accomodate mock sea battles nearly made my head spin.

I wondered if the sheer power the Colosseum represented served as an arbitrator or antagonist to achieving peace with surrounding areas. Skill and power aren’t necessarily positive,  are they, Dear Reader?

The Romans aren’t credited with starting crucifixion, but they did seem to perfect it as a means of both torture and execution. In order to prolong agony and delay death, the condemned’s wrists would be pinned between a small wooden disc and the horizontal beam of the cross. 

Various accounts and uncovered relics indicate that the nails used to fasten Jesus to the cross were probably 5-9 inches long, with square heads. (Today’s 12 penny nail is 3 1/4 inches long.)

Such a nail, or spike, demanded a large hammer. A standard hammer used for driving most nails today has a head weighing 2-4 pounds. One source reported that it would take the weight and force of a sledge hammer (between seven and fifteen pounds) to drive a 5-9 inch spike through flesh, bone, and wood.

Was anger the tool used to arbitrate efficacy in completing this atrocious task? Or was it intended to antagonize, intensify, the condemned’s suffering?

Images and portrayals draw our eyes and thoughts to the price of heaven hung on a cross. Have we ever considered the faces contorted with anger and agression of His executioners?

God is never surprised, Dear Reader, not by the world Jesus lived and died in, or by ours. Is it possible God used the anger of men to arbitrate, settle once and for all, our sin debt?

I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; It is melted [by anguish] within me.”

Psalm 22:14 AMP

Dear Reader, I pray you have never seen such rage in someone’s face, or been been threatened by its power and strength. Like the Roman executioners, we too live in a fallen world. A world where, at best, anger only seeps in around the edges and doesn’t brutally confront us. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the anger in our world. Praise God He sent us a Savior capable of overcoming its power.

When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’”

Luke 23:33-34a NLT

The price of heaven was more than Jesus enduring the anger of Roman soldiers. His blood and anguish were horrific payments for the love and forgiveness ony the Son of God could forfeit so heaven could be ours.

Dear Reader, I am reassured by trusting that only the infinite love and forgiveness of a Savior would withstand the antagonism of a fallen world in order to arbitrate our ransom from it. 

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