Today brings us to the foot of the cross. Here Jesus bled and died for each of us. The physical pain of the cross was not all He had to endure, but even that pain he endured fully.
We looked at Jesus’ crucifixion in Matthew’s gospel too. In that blog article titled, “On the Cross” we joined the “action” for a closer look at what was going on. Flip back to better appreciate all Jesus did for each of us.
I want to look at what is going on beyond the physical pain Jesus suffered. Mark skips us by the crowd on the way to Golgotha. We are introduced to a man named Simon of Cyrene early on as he is compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. As Jesus was making His way down the Via Dolorosa He is being peppered with jeers. How many of these people were in one of the audiences when Jesus taught the people? How many received something special from Him? Did any of them partake of that amazing meal for 4 or 5 thousand? Were any of them present as He entered Jerusalem on a donkey?
Once Jesus reached Golgotha several other groups are featured. We have those who pass by. These would have been the people who were on their way to or from the city and happened to pass by on the road next to Golgotha. “Rubber necking” was just as common then as it is today. They joined in the “fun” of jeering at Jesus. Words attributed to this group include “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross” (verses 29-30).
The next group identified by Mark is the chief priests and scribes. Their taunts included, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down from the cross that we may see and believe” (verses 31-32).
The final verbal assault Mark mentions came from His fellow prisoner. All of the words used in mocking Jesus spoke the truth about Him. Every time they stated what He had done in the past they told of His power. Everything they were tempting Him to do now was possible using His existing power. He could have easily came right off the cross and “provided proof” of His power. But He stayed out of love.
Nails didn’t hold Jesus fast; love did. Jesus’ determination to stay is the only thing that saved us. If He would have called for His freedom instead we would have no road to salvation. There was no second chance to get this “sacrifice thing” right. It was now or never. And Jesus chose “now!” He chose to endure the pain clear headed. He listened to every jeer or jab. He hung completely naked and exposed on the cross.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing love! Nothing would be possible without it. It was that love that convinced You to enter our story as a little baby. It was that same love that brought about the miracles of healing. And it was that AMAZING love that held You suspended on the cross. No greater demonstration of love has ever been given.
Father God, help me share the kind of love Jesus shared. Sacrificial love. Unending love. Unconditional love. Love that resists the easy road. Love that also knows what is needful, regardless of the requests. I know those mocking Jesus were not serious in their requests, but even if they were, Jesus’ love prevented Him from giving them what they wanted and gave them what they needed instead. That is the kind of love I want to show.