In this season of resurrection, many of us often choose to focus on the living Christ, the one who is risen and has taken our sin. I know for me in past years the only time I think about the pain of Christ and how much he had to sacrifice and lower himself to save us is during an Easter play. This year I decided to really spend time with Christ on the Cross, by reading the accounts of his death and resurrection according in all four gospels. Each one tells the story but each shares a specific detail or wisdom that is not shared by the others. I have found this year I have really started to appreciate the true spirit of this season, which is not the resurrection but the selflessness of a humbled God.
Let’s take a look at Jesus on the cross according to the Gospels.
Scripture says, “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.” (Luke 23:33)
Calvary’s Hill. Two thieves—gaunt and pale. With the cynicism of most of the crowd, one calls out, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself, and us too, while you’re at it!”
The other in defense says, “Don’t you even fear God when you are dying? We deserve to die, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.”
Lodged in the thief’s statement are what anyone needs to recognize in order to come to Jesus. Jesus is not on that cross for his sins. He is there for ours! And the thief on the cross makes the same request any Christian makes, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom!”
On Calvary’s Hill, Christ lifts his heavy head toward the heavens crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). We would ask the same. Why him? Why forsake your son? Forsake the murderers. Desert the evildoers. Abandon them, not him.
What did Jesus feel on the cross? The icy displeasure of a sin-hating God. Why? Because Jesus carried our sins in His body. With hands nailed open, he invited God, “Treat me as you would treat them.” And God did. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Why did God scream those words? So you will never have to!
“It is finished.” Jesus cried! Stop and listen. Can you imagine the cry from the cross? What was finished? The history-long plan of redeeming man. The message of God to man. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished.
Had Jesus’ hands not been fastened down, I dare say that a triumphant fist would have punched the dark sky. This is no cry of despair. It is a cry of completion. A cry of victory. A cry of fulfillment. Yes, even a cry of relief. “Take me home.” Come, ten thousand angels! Come and take this wounded one to the cradle of his Father’s arms.
Farewell, manger’s infant. Yes, take him home. Take this Son to his Father. He deserves a rest. Bless you, holy ambassador. Go home, rest well. The battle is over! It is finished.
This synopsis was provided by Max Lucado from On Calvary’s Hill.