THE OLD RUGGED CROSS!
I assume that you know which cross I talk about. I talk about the cross Jesus was hanging and suffering on. Many, too many people have been tortured through history, but most people have been tortured against their will, but Jesus did it because He loved us dearly. He was willing to be punished for something He didn’t do and He bore the punishment that we deserved. We might find a father being willing to die to save his wife and children, but Jesus became the Savior of the entire world. Every person on earth can actually come to heaven if they accept the sacrifice Jesus did on the cross. I am so sorry that too many people turn their back to God and do not accept Jesus as their Savior. Many lack knowledge and others choose to go their own way. We will also find those saying no to God out of fear.
Jesus started His suffering in Gethsemane, a place He used to go to. He went there after they finished the Passover meal and after He had instituted the Communion. He withdrew a little from His disciples after encouraging them to pray and stay awake. He warned them and said that they should do this to avoid temptations. He had to do this several times, but they fell asleep. Jesus, Himself, had a terrible struggle. The Bible writes that He was sweating blood out of fear. Can you imagine that blood would come from your sweat? He was also going through a struggle of being willing. He prayed following prayer: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42) Then an angel appeared to Him and strengthening Him. It doesn’t say in what way. Maybe by some encouraging words, maybe a greeting from His Father or maybe He got something to strengthen His body. I also believe that the Lord sends an angel when we are in despair. I have experienced that.
Jesus was betrayed by Judas and Jesus knew what was coming, but He was still the merciful Jesus. One of the people in His company cut off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest and Jesus disliked that and He put the ear back and healed the servant.
Jesus was taken prisoner and was brought to the house of the high priest. Peter followed, but at a distance. He did exactly as Jesus said: denying Him three times. The men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. He was finally taken to Pilate, the proconsul. He could not find any fault in Jesus and that was correct. Jesus is the only man ever existed without sin. Pilate sent Him to Herod since Jesus belonged to his jurisdiction. He sent Him back to Pilate since he couldn’t find any fault in Him either. The high priests and the people wanted Jesus to be crucified and Barabbas, a rebellion to go free. Pilate gave finally in for the pressure. He didn’t dare to follow his conscience in fear of becoming unpopular. I believe that we sometimes do the same. We might say: “ I really do not want to do this, but I do it because of others.” That is not good enough on the Day of Judgment. Eve accused the snake and Adam accused Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were thrown out of the garden. We are responsible for our own sins.
What took place on the cross? If it hadn’t been for Jesus, we could have said that it was terrible that an innocent was condemned, but what Jesus did changed humanity. The prophet Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before about the cross. I have several times referred to Isaiah 54: 4+5. We read there that He bore our sicknesses and our pain. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed. He did it all for our sake. We would not have had any direct entrance to the Father if He hadn’t opened the way by His blood.
In the Old Testament they sacrificed calves and goats, but Jesus became the perfect Sacrificial Lamb. The entire world became dark for three hours when Jesus was hanging on the cross and the veil of the temple was torn in two. It was a terrible drama. Jesus had been beaten and His blood was running. He was nailed to the cross through His hands and feet and He had a crown of thorns on His head. He was mobbed and despised. It looked like the devil had conquered Him, but we read in Colossians 2:14+15 that Jesus wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us. It was nailed to the cross and He disarmed principalities and powers and made them a public spectacle. He triumphed over them. Jesus took away the devil’s power, but he is not thrown in the pit of fire yet. We must therefore use our authority given by Jesus to withstand the devil in the name of Jesus. We have a Christian magazine in Norway called: “The victory of the cross.” They have really understood that we Christians can have victory because of what Jesus did on the cross.
TAKE COMMUNION THIS EASTER AND REMEMBER WHAT JESUS DID FOR YOU ON THE CROSS!