Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Old Rugged Cross

Mark 15:27-31: “With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. 28 So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ 29 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!’ 31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save.’”

The people of that day did not understand what was happening. They could not understand what this was, or who this was. They had just witnessed the scourging of Jesus where the scriptures say that after they were done beating Him He did not even appear to be human. He had been beaten beyond recognition; ”Just as there were many who were appalled at Him, His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness” (Isa 52:14). They mocked Him and spit on Him (Psalm 22:7-8, Isa 50:6), and forced Him to carry a cross the distance to the place of execution.

While at the place of the skull, they placed Jesus on the cross. They nailed one hand firmly down on the splintered beam. The nail pierced His flesh and the blood flowed. The man then went to the other side, grabbed Jesus’ wrist and began to pull, stretching him along the rugged shaft, splinters entering His back, and the blood continued to flow. The thorns that were in the crown they had previously jammed onto His head were pressing deeper and deeper into His skull, and the blood continued to flow. The ankles were pulled in order to place the convicted man in the most uncomfortable position. The nail enters the feet, and the blood flows. Finally, with a dramatic climax, the cross is lifted into the air, the weight of Jesus bearing down upon the wounds of His hands and feet, as the cross is lifted higher and higher. Jesus began to slip down that old rugged cross, putting huge splinters in His back. Moreover, with a loud thud . . . The cross dropped into its final resting place and the blood continued to flow.

They who were there did not get it; they did not understand what this was. Jesus was not concerned about saving Himself. He could have ended all of this with a word. "save Yourself, and come down from the cross!" My God! I am so glad He did not think of Himself! I am so glad that His love kept Him up there. He would not save Himself, because He wanted to save you; He wanted to save me! He did this because it was the only way that we could be made right before God. It is only because the blood flowed that there is remission of sin. How can I pay God back for the wonderful gift He gave to me? “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9) Honor Jesus today; accept the gift of the cross, tell others about this gift, and live as if you really appreciate the work that was done on the cross.

Tomorrows Readings:
Old Testament: Deut. 29-30 New Testament Mark 16

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