This is probably one of the hardest devotionals I’ve had to write. The main reason for this is because I feel so inadequate. Poets, preachers, and theologians have all expounded on his Passion, and they can do it with much more eloquence than I could ever muster. But here are a few points to consider for all of us:
A) The horror and brutality of the physical pain was unimaginable to us. I find it interesting, however, that there really isn’t that much of a description of the actual crucifixion itself. The Gospel writers give some detail about the torture and other hardships he underwent before the main event: mockery, being spat upon, being hit with fists, the crown of thorns, and the actual flogging by the Roman whip (remember, complete with a piece of bone in every single strap). But when it comes to the cross, they simply say “And they crucified him.” or words to that effect. The reason for this omission of detail? For the first century audience, there was no need: They knew full well what a crucifixion looked like. But there might be another reason. Perhaps they didn’t give details on this not because they regarded it as unimportant, but as so poignant and meaningful that no human words could capture it. It was too “close” for them to examine.
B) But the thing we need to keep in mind here is why he did it. He died a vicarious death, and everything he went through was for our sake. Why was he falsely accused? So that we can be declared “not guilty” in God’s court. Why was he beaten? Because “by his wounds we are healed.” Why was a crown of thorns placed upon his head? So that one day we could receive a crown of glory. Why did he die? So that we could live forevermore.
C) And what should our reaction should be to this, when we realize that it is my sin and your sin that nailed him to that tree? Let’s be clear here: It should not be guilt. That's not the purpose here, or at least not at the end. It should promote hatred of sin, since that’s what killed him. And it should provide a constant well-spring of thankfulness that leads to obedience.
Now for your viewing, I present what I believe is the best music video of all time, "Secret Ambition" by Michael W. Smith:
Lord Jesus, thank you. Those words seem so inadequate, but I don’t know what else to say. Except, “I’m yours, to do with as you please.”