Even the Cross

When the Son of God humbled Himself, He descended from the heights of glory to the depths of derision. Invented by the Etruscans and taken over by the cruel Romans, crucifixion was the most dreaded of all punishments in the ancient world. After His capture, Jesus endured a rigged “trial” by the Jews, who mocked Him for claiming to be the Son of God and the Son of Man. They handed Him over to Pilate, who wanted to free Him but ended up subjecting Jesus to one indignity after another before finally sending Him to Golgotha. Stripped, slapped, slugged, scourged; beaten, battered, and bloody, Jesus staggered under the weight of His cross as He carried it through the crowded streets of Jerusalem. Once He had been fixed by nails to this instrument of torture, He suffered not only excruciating pain but the scorn of the Jews who gathered around to watch Him die. “Is this the Son of God? Let Him come down and prove it! He saved others; can He save Himself?” There He was - naked, exposed, defenseless – treated like a revolutionary, though He had refused to lead a rebellion against Herod or Rome. Was it the thorns, or the spikes, or the horrible struggle to breathe, or the tearing muscles, that broke His heart? Or was it the shame, when He should have been heaped with honors and crowned with gold? “He endured the cross, despising its shame” Hebrews 12:2). “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him” (Philippians 2:9). And shall we not also?