It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When He had said this, He breathed His last.
Do you ever picture what it would have looked like at the foot of the cross? Sometimes, I try to imagine everything that I would have seen and felt if I had been there that day. Would I have pushed myself to the front of the crowd, to try to capture every moment, or would I have lingered in the back, to remove myself from the intensity of the crucifixion of my Savior? What did it smell like, all of the sweat and blood? Was it loud and riotous or was it silent like the quiet after a storm? No matter what the noise level of the crowd, I think it would have been one of those life-altering moments in which everything goes silent except the thoughts streaming through your head. He must be growing weak now, His body is looking unresponsive. Where is the strong man who fed the thousands, healed the sick, and calmed the storm? Can He not heal Himself or save Himself? Where is the man who claimed to be the Savior of the world and who promised me eternity with Him?
Sometimes, I try to imagine the power of Christ’s life and put it into the context of my life. I think about the people I respect and love the most and imagine what it would feel like if my government were to crucify them for something they didn’t do (or even for something they did do like preaching the gospel). That is when I know the power of the cross most fully. What if rulers today crucified my pastor or a strong Christian leader in our country? What would I do? If I were standing at the foot of a cross bearing this person that I respect so dearly and watching him writhe in pain at the weight of gravity bearing down on his chest making it difficult to breathe. And then to watch him slowly and painfully die? I couldn’t do it!
How much more to watch the Savior of the world, the man who lived a perfect life and only came to love, die on a cross wearing a crown of thorns, mocked and ridiculed? The torment must have been tremendous and the betrayal likely hurt worse. He loved the world and tried to show them God’s love through His words and His actions. But, it wasn’t enough. He had to bear the weight of our sins and pass from life to death in order to redeem mankind. This beautiful and perfect man took upon himself all of the ugliness and wickedness we brought into the world and died a sinner’s death. How could we do this to Him? How can I be thankful to Him when I know that I caused all of this pain and suffering? By accepting His mercy. I am ugly and vile. I was born into sin and have separated myself from my creator but, He gave freely. He said “I love you so much that I will die this death so that you can live. Not only that, but I will conquer death for you and raise you from the dead to live with me in eternity.” I am free from myself because my Savior paid the highest price!