The cross was an instrument of great suffering. It was an instrument of cruelty. There was nothing humanitarian about it. The intention was to make the punishment so horrible that men would abhor the thought and do anything to avoid it.
The most perfect man, Jesus Christ, was nailed to one for an agonizing 6 hours. He couldn’t avoid it. To fulfill his redemption plan required going through the cross. The prophet David said a thousand years before, “16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.” – Psalm 22:16. Most men would compromise their greatest treasures if it would save them from the cross, but our Savior and God would not.
The words Jesus spoke while there do reinforce our respect and love for Him. He spoke of forgiveness and eternal life. “Father, forgive them…” and “Today you will be with me in paradise.” The mockery and venom and spit did not keep Jesus from loving sinful man. Stunning, right? Not really because He was never off mission. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” A cross, a place of derision and shame, for the guilty, remains a place of grace and hope for those who Believe in Jesus. He died and laid down His own life in order to redeem all of us from ourselves, from the consequences of our sins. I look to it daily and I find forgiveness. Through Jesus on the cross I learn the meaning of selfless love so that I act for the betterment of others. Ironic isn’t it that something so horrible could be such a blessing to us all.