Offered as a sacrifice
“So he (Pilate) delivered Him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.”John 19:16-18 (ESV)
The Romans often used crucifixion as a means of execution for people who committed severe crimes and were not Roman citizens. In this case, Jesus was offered up to be crucified, as He was accused of being a rebel against the Roman Empire.
Crucifixion is an execution by asphyxiation. It was designed to limit the amount of oxygen to the body by hyper-expansion of the chest muscles and lungs, which results in the inability to inhale. This often lasted days as the person being crucified could lift up on the nails holding their feet to the cross to fill their lungs before slumping back down.
This is a slow, humiliating and brutal way to be executed. In the case of Jesus, prior to being crucified, He was scourged. He was beaten by a whip with shards of bone, glass, and metal attached. This ripped the flesh from His back.
The result was a man, barely recognizable, hanging naked from a cross, barely able to breath. Jesus’ body was torn, beaten, broken and then hung on the cross for all to see.
This was done for you and for me. Jesus went through one of the most brutal deaths man can endure because you and I couldn’t save ourselves. Jesus, in His death, suffered the wrath of God against sin. The perfect and holy God in human flesh died the death that we who rebel against him deserve.
He did this so that you and I can have a relationship with Christ and be freed from death. He died so that we can live. He suffered God’s wrath so that we can experience His love. In His death, God took our sins, our imperfections, our mess-ups, our faults and put them on Christ. He then took all of Christ’s perfection, holiness, and righteousness and placed it on all who call upon His name. We are made right in God’s eyes because Jesus went to the cross for us.
This week, if you have not looked to the cross for salvation, take a moment and think about the death that Christ died so that you may live.