Walking in Truth Devotional Update, Led Him Away to be Crucified
Led Him Away to be Crucified
(Mat 27:31-34; Mk 15:20-23; Lk 23:26-32; Jn 19:16, 17)
(Mat 27:35-56; Mk 15:24-41; Lk 23:33-49; Jn 19:18-30)
Three men have been condemned and stripped, beaten and forced to carry the heavy wooden crossbeam through the streets. Jesus’ final road to the Cross began with his Via Dolorosa—”Road of Sorrows,” as described in Mark 15:21, 22: “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).”
At the place of execution, “they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it” (Mark 15:23). The Babylonian Talmud says that respected women, in response to the merciful injunction of Proverbs 31:6 to “Give strong drink to him who is perishing” (RSV), appointed themselves to provide condemned victims with a narcotic, pain-reducing drink before execution. But Jesus refused it (cf. Matthew 27:34; Psalm 69:21). Jesus rejected any form of relief for his sufferings because he wanted to maintain clarity of mind to the end, bearing the full weight of his suffering. He even maintained the lucidness to minister to the dying thief and pronounce the rest of his wondrous seven last words.
Crucifixion was a form of execution that the Romans had learned from the Persians. By the time of Christ, crucifixion had become the favorite method of execution throughout the Roman empire, and especially in Judea, where it was regularly used to make a public example of rioters and insurrectionists. The Romans had perfected the art of crucifixion in order to maximize the pain—and they knew how to prolong the horror without permitting the victim to lapse into a state of unconsciousness that might relieve the pain. We must never fall into the delusion of thinking that the suffering was not as great for him because of the fact that he was God. He did it as a man, among men, in total (and exemplary) dependence upon the Father.
The March 21, 1986 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association carried the most complete medical review of Christ’s crucifixion ever published in a medical journal. In it the authors detail the pain endured by the weight of the body hanging from nails which damage the medial nerves and tear at the tarsals, the respiratory torture, the cramping, and the pleurel effusions, concluding that “Death by crucifixion was in every sense of the word excruciating, literally ‘out of the cross.’”
Jesus’ persecutors were not aware of the love that was being declared through the Cross, but they were aware of the assertion of his Lordship. Verses 25, 26 tell us: “It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Another Gospel fills in the details:
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” (John 19:19-22)
The Cross reveals the love of God as nothing else in the universe could! The Golden Text of the Bible declares: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Thro’ all eternity.
The Crucifixion not only proclaims Christ’s love as nothing else could do, but it shouts his rule! What he did on the Cross demands our obedience.
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.