- 2004 10 Mar
As a little girl, I remember gazing at a picture of the crucifixion that hung on the wall in my Sunday school class. Christ body was thin, sagging limply to one side. His head was bowed low as blood trickled down His face from the crown of thorns He wore. It appeared that nails in His hands and feet were what fastened Christ to the cross. I would one day discover it was something much more than nails that held Him there. It was the love of a heavenly Father for a sinner like me.
Years later, I was a young adult when I saw the true picture of the crucifixion in the Word of God. The Bible painted a different picture of Christ’s death than the one I had known as a child. “Yet many shall be amazed when they see him—yes, even far off foreign nations and their kings; they shall stand dumbfounded, speechless in his presence. For they shall see and understand what they had not been told before. They shall see my Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there.” (Isaiah 52:14-15, LBT)
In that moment, I realized they had not simply nailed Christ to a cross, placed a crown of thorns upon His head, gashed His side with a spear, spit in His face, gave him vinegar to drink, gambled for his clothes, and beat Him with a whip, but they beat Him until He became unrecognizable flesh hanging on a cross.
My mind suddenly flashed back to the first time I walked into the hospital room after my husband had been burned in a house fire. Porter’s skin was completely black, his head was swollen twice the normal size and the skin on his arms was gone. He was unrecognizable!
If Porter had been told ahead of time that working in that house would result in being burned over 80 percent of his body, suffering for eight days, leaving his home, wife and child, ending in death, I’m sure he would have chosen not to go in. Not knowing what was ahead of him, Porter didn’t have that choice, but Christ did.
Christ knew the horror of what men and women would do to Him and, yet He chose to suffer. He chose the cross. He chose to leave heaven and come to earth. Christ laid aside His royal crown and took off His righteous robe. He left His Holy Father and His heavenly home to come to the dark land of sin and corruption. The King of all Kings considered Himself nothing, a pauper at best. Born to die. He willingly paid the price for our freedom. With fear and trembling I knew for the first time what Christ had truly done for me.
And yet, He was Innocent. Christ didn’t deserve death. He had never sinned. Christ never lied. He never stole anything, nor was He a drug dealer or prostitute. Christ never disobeyed His Father or harbored hatred and bitterness toward others. The Son of God never judged or rejected others. He never gambled His money away or was a drunkard. He never spoke against His neighbor or yearned for his neighbor’s wife. He never cheated on His income taxes or betrayed a friend. No, Jesus Christ didn’t do any of this, but we did.
Suddenly, I saw myself at the foot of the cross. In one hand I held a hammer and in the other a whip. I, too, had nailed Christ there. It was my sin. Yet Christ was willing to die for me in my place as payment for all my past, present and future sins. It wasn’t man’s will or nails of iron that held Jesus there. It was the obedience of a Son and the love of a Father that held Christ on that cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
My friend, Christ didn’t die for me only, He died for “whosoever!” That includes you. More so, if you were the only one in the world He still would have came for you alone! Whosoever you are, a parent, a teenager, a man, a woman, a grandparent, or a child, Christ chooses you. Will you choose Him and His death on the cross as payment for your sins? Your life will never be the same.