A few days ago, I posted on Facebook about a message I heard from Evangelist Carl Harris. He talked about how the world views Jesus. It gave me a totally new perspective on the crucifiction. I would like to share it with you here and expound on it from my perspective..
When you see pictures of Jesus, you see many different things. In some He looks angelic. Some portray Him with blond hair and blue eyes. Some even show Him looking kind of feminine and weak. Not that all women are weak..but you understand my meaning. Even the pictures showing Jesus on the cross portray Him as skinny, pale and weak-looking. I do not believe this is the case and after listening to Carl Harris, I know this is not the truth.
First off, Jesus was a Jew from Israel. Most, not all, but most of the people from Israel are olive complected. They have dark hair and dark eyes. This dispells the notion that Jesus looks white...no blond hair, no blue eyes.
Secondly, Jesus was a carpenter. He spent hours and hours using hand tools and good, old fashioned muscle power. He had no skill saws, dremels, automatic drills or nail guns. Everything He did, He did by hand. This means that His biceps, pecs and triceps were huge. He wasn't wimpy or weak in the least. The Bible tells us that Jesus went into the temple and overturned the money changer's table. These were not particle board tables. They were heavy, solid wood tables and some may have even been made from stone. With just His arms and righteous indignation, He overturned them. Not a job for a weakly wimp. He walked every where that He went which means that His leg muscles were very strong and well defined. To use a modern day term, and meaning no disrespect, Jesus was buff. He more than likely could have taken on many of today's body builders with no problem.
Thirdly, When Jesus walked the Via Delarosa up to Calvary, He carried the cross beam that would later be attatched to the cross. History tells us that these beams weighed upwards of 500 pounds. He carried this beam and only stumbled once that we know of. This, after being beaten and abused, is a sign of great strength. The Bible tells us that Jesus was unreckonizable as a man. His skin was lacerated to the point of being all but gone. What was left of it, was just hanging on His body. There were bruises and lacerations on His face, His beard had been plucked out and a crown of thorns were brutally pushed into His scalp. These were not the thorns that we think of on roses. These thorns were anywhere from 1-2 inches long.
Now, I want you to imagine the reaction of the Roman Centurions as they watched this man walk up Calvary's Hill. They knew they had to crucify this man. They knew, as they stood there, that they were about to drive stakes that looked much like the railroad ties we have today into this man's wrists. As He lay himself down, with a little help I am sure, on the cross, I can imagine the centurions thinking to themselves, "How are we going to wrestle this man's arms down. He is so strong, even in His condition. I don't know if I really want to do this. He could kill me with one blow." I'm sure their words would have been alittle different, but the concept was the same.
Grabbing one hand, they were amazed at how easy it was to stretch out Jesus' arm on the beam. BANG! BANG! BANG! No screams of pain, no pulling against the hands that held the arm. Amazed is probably a good word for the thoughts running through the centurion's minds. They couldn't believe that this man was just lying there. Ok, now for the other hand. Is He going to fight this time now that He knows what it's like? Is He going to reach up and strangle me? Ok, here goes nothing. But before they could reach for Jesus' other arm, He, of His own free will and conciously, laid His arm across the beam. How utterly amazing. Who would voluntarily lay their arm across the beam knowing it was about to have a spike driven through it? Is this man crazy? Does He like pain? No, He was in love. With you and me. Jesus' love for us is what possessed Him to lay His arms outstretched. Love allowed those spikes to be driven into His flesh and sinew. Love nailed Him to that cross. Now to set the cross in the ground. There was an 18 inch deep hole that the centurions had to set the cross in. This wasn't a sanded, rounded corner, beautifully shellached cross. It wasn't for decoration. It was a rough hewn log with a cross beam. No splinters had been sanded. Jesus wasn't just going to slide easily down to a resting place. As the ropes were pulled taut, the cross began to raise. Positioned over the hole, it dropped into the hole. Jesus' body slid down with a jolt. Splinters the size of small branches would have slid into the exposed muscle on His shoulders, back, backside and thighs. Not a pretty picture is it? And to think, He loved you that much.
Hanging there on that cross, Jesus could have said one word and it would have been over. A simple word would have ended all the pain and humiliation He was experiencing. "Come" would have taken Him away to His father in heaven. At that one word, 10,000 angels would have flew down from heaven to rescue their Maker. But your life was worth more than His pain. Your eternity meant more to Jesus than His discomfort. Picture in your mind...Heaven and the angels gathered around God's throne. You can hear them begging. Pleading..Gabriel and Michael on their knees, tears flowing down their faces begging God to let them go get Jesus. How emotional that day was, not just for Jesus' mother and friends, but for His father and the angels in heaven.
Many people think God turned His face away from Jesus because He couldn't stand to see His Son suffer like that. That may very well be true, but I think He turned away because He wanted to send the angels to get Jesus. Yes, God knew His Son had to suffer death on the cross and become the one last final sacrifice for salvation, but as a parent, I think it was excruciating for Him to not save His Son. I can't imagine not doing everything in my power to save Kierstynne from death. I would call 911, I would go through hell and back to save her. She is my daughter, my flesh and blood. I would have had to turn away too because I would have sent the angels to get Him. God knew, from the beginning of time, that His Son, Jesus, would endure death on a cross, but the actuality of seeing it was torture for God. Knowing that in order for His creation, whom He loved beyond belief, to be able to spend eternity with Him, He had to sacrafice His one and only Son. That love, agape love in the Greek, is unfathomable for most people. Would you be able to sacrifice your child for the salvation of the whole world?
As Jesus hung there on that tree, I can only imagine the thoughts running through His mind. Or was the pain so intense that He couldn't even concentrate? Looking up into the heavens, could He see the angels watching? Could He see His father's face? I don't know. I would like to think that even if He couldn't see them that He could feel the love radiating down.
Jesus asked for one thing while He was hanging there. Something to ease the dryness in His mouth. When He realized that the water they offered Him was laced with some kind of opiate, He refused. Why? What He was doing He was doing of His free will. He wanted no pain relief. He wanted to be in His right mind. He wanted to be concious of His sacrifice. I believe that if He had given in and took of the gall they offered, the world would have said He was drunk and didn't have a clue. In order for the Cross to mean what it was meant to mean, Jesus did everything fully concious and with deliberation.
So the next time you find yourself taking the cross for granted or find the crucifiction story becoming mundane, think about what you have just read. Think about how much God loved you when He didn't even know you physically here on earth. When Jesus was on the cross, You were on His mind.