Dear Reader, the road to the cross is not for the faint of heart. Reflecting on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus is hard, but how can we come into a closer relationship with Him if we don’t dig a little deeper? Let us go on this difficult, but necessary, journey together.
I truly believe everyone has something that he or she is good at. Years ago one of our nephews came home from preschool proudly wearing a “Good Napper” sticker.
What a remarkable teacher to actively 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.
But all strengths aren’t positive, are they, Dear Reader?
Persians are credited with starting the use of crucifixion as a means of execution. Nevertheless, the Romans seemed to have “perfected” it as a means of torture.
The Romans went so far as to pin the condemned’s wrist between a small wooden disc and the horizontal beam of the cross. Their goals were to prolong agonizing pain and delay death as long as possible.
Various accounts and relics indicate that the nails used to fasten Jesus to the cross were 5-9 inches in length, with square heads. (Today’s 12 penny nail is 3 1/4 inches long.)
A large nail, or spike, demanded a large hammer. A standard hammer used for nails we’re accustomed to has a head weighing 2-4 pounds. One source indicated it would take the weight of a sledgehammer to drive a 5-9 inch spike.
Have you ever tried to swing a sledgehammer, Dear Reader? I could only lift one a few inches off the ground when I tried. Could you imagine how much muscle it would take to use a sledgehammer to drive a spike through a person’s wrist and into a wooden beam?
How much anger would it take to fuel such atrocity? Media depictions of the crucifixion typically focus on the ravaged face of our Savior suffering excruciating pain. Can we imagine the faces of His executioners contorted by rage?
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 that you have never seen such rage in someone’s face. Unfortunately, we seem to live in a time and place where anger threatens to become common place.
At times we may feel overwhelmed, powerless against the rage in our world. Praise God, He sent us a Savior capable of overcoming such anger.
While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, “Father, forgive them,[a] for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Luke 23:34a TPT
The price of heaven was more than Jesus enduring the anger of Pharisees and Roman soldiers. His blood and anguish were horrendous payments for the love and forgiveness only the Son of God could forfeit so heaven could be ours.
Dear Reader, I am consoled in trusting that Jesus longs for us to wrap ourselves in the love and forgiveness He poured out from the cross…not flog ourselves with guilt. The price of heaven was greater than any we could possibly pay, but less than the devotion of our Heavenly Father and His Son for us.