”Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” – Hebrews 12:2-3 (MSG).
How often when you think of the cross do you let the whole experience wash over you? At Easter time we spend time in reflection and thoughtful prayer about the cross and the resurrection. But reflecting on the cross is not a one-time thing, nor should it ever be taken for granted because of what it cost.
We know the story: the flogging; they twisted together a crown of thorns and placed it upon Jesus’ head. Due to the punishment that Jesus received, He could not carry the cross all the way to Golgotha. Even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus suffered greatly. When crucified, you would die a suffocating death. It was a slow process. Jesus took six hours to die. It was horrific.
Jesus could have gotten down from the cross at any time. Remember how He said that He had twelve legions of angels at His disposal? (Matthew 26:53) He didn’t have to go through with it. He could, at that time, very easily have said, ‘That’s enough of this. I don’t want to have to deal with any of this any longer”, and then just come down off the cross. Think of it. No more pain. Vindication before His accusers. Who could doubt Him then? Jesus was betrayed by one of His own apostles, abandoned by those to whom He invested the last three years of His life, denied, not once but three times, by one of His closest followers. But it had to be this way if there were to be any salvation.
When you take the time to reflect on the cross you understand better what that means. Jesus wasn’t trapped or forced to the cross. He laid down His life of His own accord. It was His choice. Jesus endured all that the cross meant willingly. John 10:11 tells us, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.’ He did it for you. For me. Everything you need to make it through this day is found in the truth of the cross of Christ. You should wake up remembering the cross. You ought to eat breakfast thanking the Lord for the cross. You should go about your day thinking about the cross, and when troubles come, run straight to the cross. Why? Because God left heaven, became a man, and gave His life over to torture and death all because He wanted you. He loves you that much.
Take time to remember the cross.
- Read Matthew 16:24. We are told to daily come to the cross of Jesus. How does this help us everyday? What keeps us from going to the cross daily?