“Hi my friend, how are you?” That’s one of the most common greetings you ever receive in your life time. How are you? The question is too general. Too wide. Too common, isn’t it? Your simple answer would be, “I’m fine” or “I’m great!” or “Good”. But you and I know that deep inside our soul, there’s sadness, grief, a heart longing for forgiveness. You smile, yes, but underneath you’re broken. You laugh, yes, but you know there’s something wrong. You had done many good deeds. You tithe more than your stingy friends. You practice religious faithfully than saints. You even read every sacred book that you can get in MPH, Border, Popular bookstore etc.
But somehow, there’s something missing.
Suddenly a voice echo in your heart, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36 KJV)
That was Jesus’ mission on the cross. I want to gain the whole world. Jesus wants to save my soul. I want to get everything in life. Jesus gave everything including His own life. I want to be a rock star and perform live on stage. Jesus chooses to bury down on the rock tomb and went through the darkest hours. I want the whole world, Jesus want to save my soul… universally speaking: He wants to save our souls, so he chooses the cross.
“They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill (the name in Hebrew is Golgotha), where they crucified him...” (John 19:16-18 The Message)
Today the cross arouses positive feelings in most Christians today. It symbolizes safety, warmth, salvation, life and hope. As I’m doing some research for this article, I find out that for people in Roman Empire at the time of Jesus, the cross brought out different reactions. Origen, one of the church fathers, accurately described crucifixion when he called it mors turpissima crucis, the most terrible way to die. Crucifixion was the usual way of execution for slaves, criminals and terrorists. What a horrible way to die! He wasn’t a slave; He is the King of Kings. He wasn’t a criminal; he is the Prince of Peace. He wasn’t a terrorist - not living in terror, he is the Mighty God. But he endured all this; he wants to save our souls.
That Friday on the daylight, the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. Remember I told you before. It was three 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm) long iron nails that was pinned on his wrists and feet. The cross which mostly likes a T-shape was design especially to prolong the torture. An echo comes to my heart again, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He came this far to purchase our souls from the bondage of sins. This is love in action, Jesus the Son of God actually doing something to provide our salvation. This is justice in action, Jesus the Son of Man died on behalf of my death penalty for sin. For Paul writes ‘The wage of sin is dead.’ This is exactly what he did, saving our souls.
Before he dies that evening, thick clouds darkened the sky. With all the strength he had, he managed to say something that really touched my heart. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34 The Message) Forgive them??? What about all the things that they had done? Jesus with all due respect let me reminds you… They accuse you! They spit, punch and slap at you! They tie, beat and whip at you! They crown your head with a thorn bush and hit you with the stick! And now you say ‘Forgive them’?
Then he reminds me all the things that I had done in the past. Flash back memories like watching a video of my life. I was put to shame. Forgive me, Lord...
You, how about you? Did you remember the things you had done in the past that need forgiveness? Take his offer today. Father, forgive them. Forgive us too. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He offers forgiveness to save our souls.
Jesus said, “It’s done… complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit. (John 19:30 The Message)
Jesus was dead. Jesus was really, and not apparently, dead. The End? No, it is not final. I’m not done yet. Why don’t we wait for three days. Let me end this part 2 article with an old hymn:
He paid a debt He did not owe,I owed a debt I could not pay,I needed someone to wash my sins away,And now I sing a brand new song,Amazing grace the whole day long,for Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.