Crucifixion as a method of killing someone is
no longer in fashion. But the method is sufficiently simple that we
can portray it in our minds. When we do, we see the suffering of
Christ. Heretics in the early church sometimes argued that Christ
could not suffer, because he is God. The church rightly recognized
the truth: he must suffer, because he is also human. He is fully
God, he is fully man – and he most certainly suffered on the cross.
If asked to describe it, most of us would use
the word "pain". It cannot possibly be pleasant to have your hands
and feet nailed to a cross. The entire process of crucifixion was
designed to give the maximum of pain before death. But there are
other forms of suffering, too.
A criminal on the cross got no
sympathy from the crowd. Executions were highly public, and the
humiliation given by the mocking crowd was considered part of the
Remember also that Jesus was
crucified between two thieves. There were plenty of people around,
but the righteous Savior was really alone. He was not one of many
righteous man suffering that day; he was the only righteous man in
We often remember Christ's suffering on the
cross. But just before that event came another season of suffering
for him: the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. This too added to
First, the three disciples he trusted
most just couldn't seem to stay awake. In this most physical of
ways, Christ was abandoned. He was alone.
The occasion was not one of sending a
memo to God the Father. It was one of extreme sorrow. How could it
not be, knowing what he was soon to face?
His prayer included the forlorn
phrase, "if it be possible." He was asking for something he knew he
wasn't going to get. It was a hard place to be.
When you ask why Christ did this, you usually
get an answer which tells of his sacrifice for our sins. That tells
us the intellectual reason. But all the reasoning in the world will
not bring him to the cross without the two most important causes:
The Father's love for mankind. The
best-known verse in the Bible starts with, "for God so loved the
The Son’s obedience to the Father.
Jesus said it: "not my will but your will be done."
Today, as you partake, discern the body and
blood of Jesus the Christ. This meal was bought at the price of the
death of the only perfectly righteous man ever to live. He did it
for love; he did it from obedience. Remember, then, the sacrifice he
has made as you partake.