April 11. 2020

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. – John 19:17-18 ESV

Crucifixion was a brutal way to kill someone. It was a slow, painful death, that was humiliating, dehumanizing- excruciating. In the book of Daniel Chapter 2 there is a great story about a troubling dream the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar had that only Daniel could explain. As you, O king, were watching, a great statue appeared. A great and dazzling statue stood before you, and its form was awesome. The head of the statue was pure gold, its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, and its feet were part iron and part clay. (Daniel 2:31-33) The image represented, in symbolic form, the sequence of great empires that would dominate the region’s political scene for centuries. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that his Babylonian Empire was represented by the head of gold (v37-38).

Leader, the silver, bronze and iron components of the image, or statue, represented the three powerful empires that were to follow ‘Mighty Babylon’. (v39-40) The silver empire was to be Medo-Persian, which began with Cyrus the Great, the bronze empire was the Greco-Macedonian Empire established by Alexander the Great and Iron connotes toughness and ruthlessness and describes the Roman Empire. The Roman’s learned the punishment of CRUCIFIXION from the Persians, who’s empire they followed. Crucifixion is such a painful death that it created a new word, EXCRUCIATING: Intensely painful; agonizing, unbearably painful. When people want to express the utmost pain the can imagine they use the word; EXCRUCIATING. This is why Jesus begged the Father if there was any other way, to redeem man… Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38-39)

Conduit, Jesus was in such agony, contemplating what was in His future that He begged the father 3 times. The Father answered The Son, the way many of us do- with no answer! In an understanding of the Cup that The Father willed Him to drink, He returned to the disciples ON MISSION: Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer! (Matthew 26:45-46) Jesus was alone in the garden even though He had friends with Him. As we read through the Bible we see He was alone too, ON THE CROSS. This season with the Corona-virus, we find ourselves unable to gather to celebrate our Lord. This year, many will be alone celebrating the RESURRECTION of Jesus. The IRONY is that this is the actual reality. The foot of the cross is level, God is not a respecter of persons. (Proverbs 15:11; 21:2; Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:8). We all stand alone before the cross. As well, we all stand ALONE before the judgement seat of God. The Bible says that it is appointed to man to DIE ONE TIME and then be JUDGED. (Hebrews 9:27) There are 2 judgement seats: The White Throne judgement of God and the BEMA seat of Christ. Unless you accept what Jesus did on the CROSS OF CALVARY, then you will stand in front of the WORKS judgement seat. You will be weighed and FOUND WANTING, because PERFECTION IS THE REQUIREMENT. However, for those who are IN CHRIST, we are the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD! (2 Corinthians 5:21) So when God looks at us, HE SEES JESUS, because we have HIS RIGHT STANDING before the Father! ALL ROADS do lead to the same God; But will you stand before Him IN RIGHT STANDING or FOUND WANTING. God the Father and God the Son made if perfectly clear: Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through HIM. To God be the Glory. Amen.

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