Can you image the feelings - physical, emotional and spiritual – that Jesus experienced those last hours as the carried and hung on the cross? I don’t think I can. I know I can’t.
Once though, I did a study called Discovery: God’s Answers to Our Deepest Questions by Will Wyatt. The amazing way he describe the feelings Jesus had on the cross for us moved me. It’s all about Jesus’ love.
It’s true: God is love. He truly experienced everything we ever have or ever will - at an enormously deeper level than we ever could- in those last hours on the cross.
“I cannot even begin to understand what it means that Jesus, who was fully God, perfect and holy, could become sin, but that is what Scripture says, He became who we were so that we could become who He is.
Because sin is easy and natural for us, we can’t begin to understand Jesus’ abhorrence of it. The perfect and holy Son of God was agonizing over the thought of becoming sin and being separated from the Father. Yet Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to be our substitute and become sin – everything that was opposite of His nature. Perhaps one way to understand, to a small degree, is to take some attributes of Jesus and consider their opposites.
We know that Jesus is love. On the cross He experienced complete, consuming hatred. He was despised and rejected.
Jesus is the “Light of the World,” yet on the cross He experienced total darkness, a lack of understanding, and everything associated with sin and evil.
Scripture tells us that Jesus is peace, even the ‘Prince of Peace.’ On the cross, the exact opposite of peace consumed Him: total frustration, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, desperation.
Jesus Christ is Truth. On the cross, everything became confusing, inconsistent, and illogical. Nothing made sense.
Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of Life.’ Yet on the cross He experienced emotional and spiritual hunger: longing, craving, yearning, complete dissatisfaction.
Jesus said, ‘I am the The Way.’ On the cross He felt frustratingly lost, with no direction. He was uncertain, perplexed, bewildered, full of doubts, empty, and confused.
Christ is our security, yet on the cross He was consumed with fear, insecurity, and overwhelming loneliness. We all have felt lonely at times, but He was lonely to a degree we can’t even imagine. Jesus Christ, who had experienced the completeness of a perfect relationship within the Trinity, was now totally forsaken and alone.
Jesus Christ is mercy. In becoming sin for us, He suffered the ultimate in abuse, oppression, and torture. Any cruelty ever devised or imagined by man, He endured on the cross.
Jesus Christ is just. On the cross He endured unfairness, corruption, dishonesty, and all the emotions that go along with receiving unjust treatment. If the Roman trial had been handled fairly, Christ would have been freed. He didn’t deserve the cross, but He wanted to be there because He chose to stand in our place. Isaiah says He was like a lamb led to slaughter, not uttering a sound. Perhaps Jesus was silent on the cross because had He even hinted for help, all of heaven would have responded.
On the cross Jesus endured incredible pain. Crucifixion was a brutal means of execution, deliberately slow and painful. Every joint was pulled out of its socket from the weight of the body. Jesus’ physical pain and death fulfilled prophecy and were part of God’s plan to bring us salvation. But more important than His physical death was that Jesus died spiritually when he was separated from His Father. His physical pain on the cross was a stark visual picture that helps us understand, to a small degree, the dreadfulness of spiritual death. (One purpose for the pain we personally experience may be to give us a glimpse of what He went through on the cross as He died for us, both physically and spiritually. Our pain should remind us of His great love for us.)
While taking our place on the cross, Jesus because of His complete separation from His Father, cried ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ This is the only time Jesus ever called his Father “God,” because at this point God was not in the role of Father, but of righteous judge. As judge, He placed in Jesus the sins of every one of us – every sin and act of rebellion we have ever committed or ever will commit. Because Jesus Christ on the cross called His Father ‘God,’ we can now call God our ‘Father.’ What amazing grace!
What an amazing God! What an amazing promise! What an amazing Savior!
As we prepare for Good Friday, let us keep those attributes in your mind and heart to help you remember Jesus….Jesus…Jesus…and his passionate love for you!