The current national debt of the United States is $17.5 trillion dollars and counting. To put this staggering number into perspective, if the national debt would be laid in a single line of $1 bills, it would stretch from Earth, past Uranus. Try if you will to imagine that in your head. Unbelievable!
As amazing as that may sound, this analogy in nothing in comparison to the price Jesus paid on the cross for our sins. The book of Romans 5:7-10 states that “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, while our hearts were the furthest away from Christ, He died for us by paying the ultimate sacrifice of being brutalized on the way to the cross.
To fully understand what Jesus did for us, you must first understand the process of being executed by way of the cross. Romans were considered experts at administering death by the cross. Often times Roman soldiers invented ingenious methods of crucifixion simply because they were bored.
The brutality of Jesus’ journey to the cross started in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46). Luke wrote of the stress Jesus experienced as being so severe that he was sweating drops of blood. The other disciples were there but they were of no use because they were tired and overwhelmed with sorrow. The savior of the world had to face the inevitable alone.
After Jesus finish praying, the coming events were one slap in the face after another. First Judas a trusted disciple betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). Shortly there after, Peter the disciple who walked on water with Jesus (Matthew 14:22-33) and saw the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13), denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62).
Now Jesus has been abandoned by men whom he nurtured, trained and loved deeply. The book of Matthew 22:63-65 describes how the men guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. Just imagine for a moment, 10-20 men standing around punching, kicking and slapping you with all their might. Jesus was swollen, bloody, bruised and exhausted.
After the beatings, He was led away to face Pilate and Herod. Lies and accusations were flowing like water from total strangers! In fact, the crowd chose a hardened criminal to be released and Jesus be crucified. Wow! Isn’t that what we do every time we choose sin over obedience to God’s word?
Shortly after Pilate released Jesus to the will of the authorities, He was severely flogged with a cat o’ nine tails (Matthew 27:25-26). The cat o’ nine tails is a type of multi-tailed whip traditionally used to inflict severe physical punishment. Each strand contained pieces of metal, glass and sharp objects which ripped away flesh with each blow. Typically victims of this form of punishment received 40 lashes plus one. At the end of Jesus’ flogging, His back was shredded to pieces with blood and pieces of flesh everywhere. Every part of His body was fair game for the person(s) administering the flogging. I would imaging they hated Jesus with a passion.
After the brutal flogging, Jesus was handed over to the governor’s soldiers who took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the company of soldiers (at least 80 men, Matthew 27:27-31) around Him. These men twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They began to mock and spit on Jesus. As if that wasn’t enough, they took a staff and repeatedly struck him on the head over and over again. Finally, after Jesus was drenched in spit, they lead him away to be crucified.
Over the years Hollywood has tried its best to recreate the beatings of Jesus to no avail. In my opinion Mel Gibson’s movie “The passion of Christ” was the most brutal portrayal I have ever witness. However, as brutal as it was, according to the Bible the movie scene missed the mark of the real brutality of what Jesus experience. The book of Isaiah 52:14 described Jesus appearance as being so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness. The crowd looked upon Him in horror as they saw what use to be human, was now a monster. With each step Jesus took, the pain and blood lost weaken him more.
However, the real pain rest squarely on Jesus as He hung on the cross and watched his father in Heaven turn away from him. In a loud voice Jesus cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? – Which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The bond Jesus shared with the Father was temporarily broken due our sins resting upon Jesus.
This why we as Christians fight each and everyday to serve, love, honor and respect a God who gave it all for us on the cross even though we owed a debt that was insurmountable in human terms. The only payment that would suffice was the blood of Jesus the son of God.
Today, if you’re reading this post I pray that you will realize that the cross in more than a piece of jewelry that we see worn around the necks of millions. It is the ultimate display of love shown by a loving God whose only desire is for you and I to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Open your life to receive Christ today by believing that Christ died for your sins, that He is the only way to salvation and He is the Son of God.
I encourage you to start the process of becoming a Christian by believing, repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you have more questions or would like to learn more about the Bible and what having a relationship with Jesus can do for you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you the same way brothers helped me to become a Christian over 19 years ago.
**Scriptural references to Becoming a Christian**
These are just a few scriptures to point you in the right direction. I encourage you to find a good Bible based church to continue your new-found life in Jesus Christ.
• Romans 10:9-10 “You must believe”
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
• Acts 2:38 “Call to repent and be baptized”
Then Peter said to them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
• John 3:5 “Being Baptized”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
• 1 Peter 3:21
…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
• Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
** If anyone would like a special prayer request (Ephesians 6:18) please feel free to email me at email@example.com (your privacy will be respected and honored); I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with as well.