Jesus willingly left Paradise and took on the confinements of human flesh to seek and save the lost, aka – us.
Jesus knew he would suffer and die. He didn’t die a noble, quick death as in a movie. He was mocked, abandoned, and tortured. After having his back shredded by strips of glass and metal,…
Pause on that for a second. I whine when I get a paper cut. Jesus was flogged. The shards in the whip literally shredded his skin. Yet He never uttered a sound. He endured.
Then he was nailed to the cross where he suffered for an excruciating 6 HOURS. Remember – crucifixion is not just about hanging out in the hot sun until you get too tired. It’s not just about your shoulders slowly being pulled out of the sockets. It’s not just about neck pain from your head being slightly forward because you cannot rest it back against the wood because you have thorns wrapped around your head. Thorns that contribute to the splitting headache caused by dehydration.
No, death by crucifixion comes when the weight of your body prohibits you from being able to expand your lungs. You slowly suffocate, unless of course you push with your feet – not the bottom of your foot with a comfortable sneaker on pressing against the floor – but feet that had a nail driven through them. Yes those – press down those feet, and as you do, the shredded skin on your back grinds against the rough wood of the cross, but at least that allows you to gasp one more breath.
Jesus could have called on legions of angels at any time. He could have pulled those nails out immediately with one single thought. He could have saved Himself. But He did not.
So the suffering continued…the need for one more breath of air exceeding the unimaginable pain of physically trying to get that air.
FOR. SIX. SOLID. HOURS.
And all while still ministering to His mother, asking forgiveness for the ones who put him there, and saving the lost soul next to Him.
When the thief asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus did not say, “I’ve got my own problems here, buddy.” In the midst of His own suffering and impending death, Jesus never forgot that this was exactly why He came. He promised the man, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Won’t you take a few minutes today and think about what Jesus did for you?
And why? What does He want in return? We can never pay that debt back, and God does not want us to try. He simply wants us to know Him. Jesus wants to heal you, to help you, to bless you, to be your best friend, and to be your first love.
God alone can love you as no human can.
You know that empty place deep inside that we keep trying to fill with food, other people, or just busyness? That’s God’s place. It’s what we were made for, to have an intimate relationship with our Creator.
But God will never force Himself upon you. That’s not relationship. He wants true, free, meaningful relationship with you.
If you do not know Jesus, invite Him into your heart today. If you do, invite Him deeper.
Isn’t that the least we can do?
For further contemplation, from the archives: We Are Barabbas.