The death was humiliating and cruel… a public ridicule reserved for the most despicable criminals. More than simply a punishment for a deed of injustice, crucifixion was designed to make the condemned completely vulnerable, humiliated and cause them to suffer the most horrible pain imaginable (hence the word “excruciating”). It was a death of disgrace kept for the worst that society had to offer.
This is what Christ’s death was: a humiliating disgrace as a payment for sin. But Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life, was not suffering because of His own guilt and shame. On that cross He was judged by God for my sins. As God the Father viewed Jesus on the cross, He saw my blasphemy, my ungratefulness, my heart full of envy and rage. The weight of my sins of unforgiveness, greed, self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness were placed on His shoulders.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God. 1 Peter 3:18
As Jesus became sin for you and me, He bore the cup of God’s wrath against our sins. “This is the Father’s cup: the omnipotent hatred and anger for the sins of every generation, past present and future. Omnipotent wrath directed at one naked man hanging on a cross.” Rick Gamache
By His wounds – by His death – we are reconciled to God. The death He died brought us life and peace. Every sin was placed upon Jesus Christ on the cross, where we find justice and grace. At the foot of the cross there is acceptance and mercy offered for all who believe. At the foot of the cross we find the power to live our lives, not for ourselves, but for the glory of the God who gave His Son to forgive us for our sins. Let us rejoice today in the wonder and glory of what Christ has done for us.
“For, whether we like it or not, we are involved. Our sins put him there. So, far from offering us flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteousness. We can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit. And there we remain until the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts his word of pardon and acceptance, and we, gripped by his love and full of thanksgiving, go out into the world to live our lives in his service.” John Stott