Who am I?
I am not a place of rest, not a refuge to those who are righteous, or a comfort to those who are burdened. About me it was proclaimed: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on it” (Det. 21:23; Gal.3:13.) I am the means by which many suffer, bleed and die; yes, I am a means used not only to bring pain, sorrow, guilt, despising, humiliation, and DEATH; but I am a display, a place for the exhibition of all these things.
I still remember the day I was being made; with a smile on their faces, those who were building me were saying out loud: “Yeah! Everyone who breaks the law, terrible criminals, people without honor, haters of God, enemies of the state, rebels, slaves; all of them will experience the most shameful and disgraceful way of dying, hanging upon you! And they laughed” All I had ever experienced since the day I was made was — sweat, blood, tears, cursing, anger, bitterness, hurt and the heaviness of the bodies of evil men.
Everyone had to be forced to be nailed upon me; but one day it was different! What a glorious day it was. A Man was nailed to me, but He was different from all of the others.
I heard that during His life this Man said: “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.“(Mt. 26:2), “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (Jn. 10:17-18), also said “If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (Jn. 12:32). He was the first to willingly embrace me, He never fought against it; “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7)
He let them nail Him. As He was hanging, He uttered words of compassion — “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise”, “woman behold your son! To His disciple ‘behold your mother!’“ But also, the most terrifying and painful words that I have heard, He spoke in that moment: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt. 27:46) These words carried such sorrow, as I have never witnessed before.
He was hanging upon me, but His greatest pain was not inflicted by me. Although I hurt people, and surely I was painful to Him; I knew I was not the one hurting Him the most at the moment. He was being crushed by a wrath and a judgment infinitely superior to what I am capable of bringing to anyone.
In fact, His sufferings were far greater than anyone else has ever suffered by me, even before He was nailed. I heard that before He was taken to be judged and tortured, He was already in a deep anguish and even bleeding; sweating blood as He earnestly prayed in a garden (Lk. 22:44). I believe that, at that moment the sacrifice had already started; He started to taste from the cup, which He was about to drink.
He even prayed “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Mt. 26:39) He knew that the cup He would have to drink was the righteous wrath of God, which should be justly poured upon every human being, as they rebelled and sinned against God. Also that taking sin upon Him and consequently taking wrath, meant being separated, abandoned, from the One He has been eternally in fellowship with; and that had never happened before. But He being the mediator, fully God and fully Man, took upon Himself the wrath which every individual ever born of a woman (apart from Himself) deserved.
He was bearing a burden so great, so heavy that no one apart from Him could ever dare to. I knew He was carrying something, which was not His; but He was doing that with so much love. I could feel it so strongly! He transpired love, mercy, kindness, and righteousness. Love was His motivation, I felt it being poured forth as He hanged upon me.
In that moment I finally could grasp a little bit of what was going on. It was not just about Jews and gentiles, simply rejecting God; It was the plan of God for the redemption of sins. He was not hanging upon me only because man hated Him, but because God in His infinite wisdom ordained it to happen that way. God had to provide a Holy sacrifice, to demonstrate His righteousness and His judgment; so that salvation would be made available.
“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” (Isa. 53:10)
He who knew no sin, the pure and spotless Lamb, became sin, became a curse; bore the wrath of the Almighty God on behalf of humanity, paying the highest price one could ever pay for anything. As he hanged upon me, His Father poured out on Him the rage He has against sin. For a moment they were separated, God had to forsake His own Son, for God and sin can never relate. In that moment all that the Son felt was the wrath of God! God demonstrated His righteousness!
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
He was crushed and finally died. I knew something had changed forever, in that very hour; and it was not by the pain that I have afflicted Him with, but by the Father Himself, as Jesus spoke these words “It is finished!” And breathed His last.
But that was not the end; after He died, He was taken down and put in a tomb. Death had no power over Him, it couldn’t hold Him down! On the third day He resurrected. Now by Him, all of those who believe in Him are justified before the Father, and are brought into the fellowship of God. (1 Cor. 15:1-8)
Yes, I am the cross. God displayed and judged His Son on me, and from this moment on, the world was never the same.
It was all for love!
Let us never doubt the love of God for us!
Let us marvel at the work of God and behold the glorious mystery of the Cross!
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Rom. 5:8-11)
“(Jesus Christ) whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:25, 26)
“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:1-12)