There are so many times we Christians forget what Christ had to go through for us on the cross. I know I have, and I’m ashamed that I could forget even once what He suffered. There are times when we need to be reminded of how much it took for us to have this amazing gift. Especially us “older” Christians. When we’re first saved by the precious blood of Christ, we realize how incredible it is that we have been forgiven and made perfect before God. The joy and peace we feel is like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. But somehow, and at some point, it’s almost like our spiritual senses get dulled as we grow “older.” We start to hear the message over and over and over, and we’re like, “Yeah, Christ died for me, it’s great.” But I don’t think it is. We thank Christ for what He’s done and then we get on with our lives. Like it didn’t really matter one way or the other. I think we need to go back and think about just how much Christ suffered for us. I’ve recently been reading a book called Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. Grudem gives a very gruesome description of the physical aspects of what Christ went through when He was dying on the cross:
“Many readers of the Gospels in the ancient world would have witnessed crucifixions and thus would have a painfully vivid mental picture upon reading the simple words “And they crucified him” (Mark 15:24). A criminal who was crucified was essentially forced to inflict upon himself a very slow death by suffocation. When the criminal’s arms were outstretched and fastened by nails to the cross, he had to support most of the weight of his body with his arms. The chest cavity would be pulled upward and outward, making it difficult to exhale in order to be able to draw a fresh breath. But when the victim’s longing for oxygen became unbearable, he would have to push himself up with his feet, thus giving more natural support to the weight of his body, releasing some of the weight from his arms, and enabling his chest cavity to contract more normally. By pushing himself upward in this way the criminal could fend off suffocation, but it was extremely painful because it required putting the body’s weight on the nails holding the feet, and bending the elbows and pulling upward on the nails driven through the wrists. The criminal’s back, which had been torn open repeatedly by a previous flogging, would scrape against the wooden cross with each breath.....In some cases, crucified men would survive for several days, nearly suffocating but not quite dying. This was why the executioners would sometimes break the legs of a criminal, so that death would come quickly....” ( pp. 572-573)
Mmm....that just sends chills down my spine. It puts me in awe of my Savior. Jesus went through that for me?!? *bows her head in shame* I do not deserve such love! But you know what’s even more horrible than all that physical torture? Christ bore the wrath of God. He experienced God’s wrath to it’s fullest. To quote again from the same source,
“Jesus had become the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin which God had patiently stored up since the beginning of the world.” (Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, p. 575)It leaves me - speechless.
To think that Christ, who was and is perfect, would bear all that for me, a sinner. How can I not give Him my all? How can I not live every moment for Him? How can I not seek to worship, adore, and bring glory to Him every day? The problem is, I don’t. It’s a constant battle with my flesh, and so many times, I give in. But God is gracious and He helps me get out of the mire of sin. He gives me the strength to move another two steps forward- to keep pressing on.