Remember Jesus’ suffering. The cross was designed as an instrument of torture. He endured physical pain, emotional grief, social humiliation and spiritual despair.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust …” (1 Pet. 3:18). Death by crucifixion was not a humane way to die. The victim suffered hours in agony.
Our Lord was exhausted from the trials held during the night. He was scourged, which many times killed the person, beaten, spit upon and mocked, finally to have nails driven through his hands and feet to hang from the cross until death occurred.
Breathing was a chore from the cross as the weight of the body was pulled by gravity toward the earth. The pain he suffered is unimaginable. This is the horribleness of the death of the Lord.
The wonderfulness of the death of Christ is that he died so man might live. Peter wrote, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Peter 3:18).
Remember Jesus’ sacrifice. His judge found no fault with him. His betrayer proclaimed his innocence. His executioner acknowledged him to be the Son of God. (John 18:38; Matt. 27:4,54).
Jesus died, not for his sins, but for yours and mine. He left the glories of heaven to take on the form of man and to die at Calvary for mankind (Phil. 2:5-11).
Man did not take his life; he freely gave it for man. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father (John 10:17,18).
Remember Jesus’ sentiment. Motivated by more than mere duty or destiny, Jesus suffered and died because he loved us.
“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The word of God allows us to know just how God’s plan for man’s salvation came about, and how it works. From the time of Adam and Eve sinning in the Garden of Eden, God has planned for man to be able to be saved.
Again, the apostle Paul helps us to understand the magnificent plan of God. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:8 – 11).
Remember Jesus’ strength. In the cross is the power to save.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18).
It is in Christ that man can find victory. That is how Paul was able to say, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (II Tim. 4:6-8).
Paul knew his reward awaited him and for it he longed. His life serves as an example of how a child of God should live, ever seeking to please God.
We need to remember Jesus and his word. Study it and obey it, and heaven will be our home.