Jesus was fearless in the face of the cross
1. What was the cross?
Physically the cross was excruciating and we actually get the term 'excruciating' from the word 'crucify'. The night before the cross Jesus spent the whole night praying and the scripture says his sweat was 'as drops of blood'. This is actually a physical condition called Hematidrosis. It is a very rare condition in which a human being sweats blood. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death. Several historical references have been described; notably by Leonardo da Vinci: describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle, men unexpectedly given a death sentence, as well as descriptions in the Bible, that Jesus experienced hematidrosis when he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). So before His trial even started He had lost a lot of blood. So He then was sent to the high priest's palace, later that night. The arresting party brings Jesus to the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court); according to Luke's Gospel, Jesus is beaten up by his Jewish guards prior to his examination. The court then examines him, in the course of which, according to John's Gospel, Jesus is struck in the face by one of the Jewish officials; the court then determines he deserves to die. According to Matthew's Gospel, the court then "spat in his face and struck him with their fists". They then send him to Pontius Pilate. At the governor's palace, early morning. Pilate, the Roman governor, examines Jesus, decides he is innocent; so to try to appease the crowd Pilate flogs Jesus. This practice was commonly called 40 lashes minus one. The Romans had perfected a way to torture someone, and leave them at death's door but not kill them. They would whip or flog a person with a whip called a "cat of nine tails". This had dried clay, glass, bone, metal, and other sharp objects within it to produce the most severe amount of carnage possible. Doctors have researched this form of torture and have concluded that much of a persons flesh would be removed during the process (the Journal of the American Medical Association, March 21, 1986, Volume 256, William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J. Gabel, MDiv; Floyd E Hosmer, MS, AMI). Jesus returns to trial, Pilate hoping that the punishment would appease the Jews, but the Jewish leaders and the crowd demand Jesus’ death; Pilate gives them the choice of saving Barabbas, a criminal, or saving Jesus. In response to the screaming mob Pilate sends Jesus out to be crucified. Jesus then is made to carry his cross to Golgotha (which means 'place of the skull') and there is crucified. Crucifixion was a slow and painful death. When hung on a cross you would have to pull yourself up to even catch a breath, and then fall back down, and typically a person would not be able to pull themselves up anymore from the exhaustion and then die a slow death of asphyxiation (not being able to breathe). Jesus is crucified and the same day dies. This is just a picture of the physical side of the pain of the cross. I cannot do it justice in a blog.
Then came the emotional side of the cross. Why should there be an emotional side of the cross? Because God is an emotional being. It says in John 3:16 "For God so loved..." Love is an emotion no mater how you want to spin it. So if God is an emotional being than Jesus is as well. The scripture says that Jesus on the cross cried (shouted, screamed, with tears I imagine), "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me"? This has to be more painful than even the physical torture of the cross. He was emotionally stricken as well. Seperation from a Father that can only be known as the best relationship in the universe must have been emotionally painful. God at this point must turn his back on his Son because he is carrying our sins. Which leads me to the spiritual side of the cross.
If you take the worst thing that you have ever done in your life...Think hard...Think really hard...you got it? Then take the worst thing that everyone in the whole world has done, rapes, murders, torture, molestations, thievery, corruptions, Genocides, abortions, adulteries, etc, etc, and put all those sins into a cup, lets call it the 'cup of wrath' or 'suffering', and Jesus drinks that cup, that is just a fraction of the 'sins of man' and Jesus drank in all the pain and spiritual suffering of all that sin combined. Just take rape or murder for instance people's lives are ruined from the consequences of these sins, and I am just thinking about the victims and what they go through. What about drinking a cup of the wrath of God for the sins of the world! This is too much even to grasp, but he did it for us. To free us from the penalty, power, and persuasiveness of sin for all time!
2. Why the cross?
So why does Jesus need to die on the cross for us? because of that great sin that we have committed and that we inherited from Adam, we are separated from God. We cannot have a relationship with God, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". God cannot relate to us because of our sin. We need a sin substitute. Because of the broken relationship we are needy, and God wants to have us back again. "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9). So God desires a relationship with you through Jesus Christ as seen in John 3:16 "For God so loved...the world that He gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life". and The eternal life that is described here is a ralationship with Him in unity forever.
3. Why was Jesus fearless in the face of the cross?
He was fearless in the face of a terrible cross for YOU and for ME! As it says in Isaiah "Yet it was the lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the lord will prosper in his hand." Isaiah 53:10. Who is Christ's offspring? YOU and ME! Put your faith in him today. Come to the foot of the cross and place your life in Him at His feet, and you will find true life! Maybe as you watch this video below you can say with the music, "Lead me to the Cross!"