Thursday, April 9, 2009
Jesus And The Criminals On The Cross
The word crucifixion is just a word...to some people... It was to me.. not anymore.. When I think of the crucifixion, I think of the pain and humiliation that Jesus suffered.. Crucifixion, a practice probably adopted from Persia, was consider by the Romans to be the cruelest form of execution. This punishment was reserved for the worst criminals; Roman citizens were not crucified. The victims usually died after two or three days of agonizing suffering enduring thirst, exhaustion, and exposure. The victim's arms were nailed to a beam, which was hoisted up and fixed to a post, to which the feet of the victim would be nailed. The body weight was supported by a peg on which the victim sat....I think 'The Passion of the Christ' helps to give an idea what is was like. I just don't know.. I cannot imagine how awful it was for Jesus.. Many of the people He was sacrificing Himself for mocked him and turned their backs on Him...The pain and the sadness...is just overwhelming..
After Jesus was sentenced to death..after he was beaten beyond what most men cannot endure, He was to carry His cross to Calvary... Because He was too weak and the pain so great, a man named Simon was ordered by a Roman guard to carry it. Simon must have been or later became a Christian; it is unlikely that he would be referred to by name if he were a stranger to the Christian community.
What is must have been like for Jesus to watch the soldiers cast lots of His clothing, listening to the people passing by Him and shouting abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. "So! You can destroy the Temple and build it in three days, can you? Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!" In His pain, he prayed to His Father and asked God to forgive these people.. Luke 23:24. It is hard to imagine anyone giving others grace when they are experiencing that kind of pain and rejection..
Jesus was being crucified with two criminals. One of the criminals hung there and yelled out insults to Him, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!".. The other criminal spoke to the criminal and said, "Don't you fear God?" he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
That is just an example of Jesus' grace and love he has for us. Whether we are a Pastor or Priest of a church or the worst of criminals... His love is always and forever.
He Has Risen!!! He Has Risen Indeed!!!!