Successful Crucifixion

House of Prayer
May 22 · 11 minutes read

Many Christians around the world carry a cross and attend church services on Good Friday. Let them do it. But let us turn to God’s Word, which clearly states what we must do. 

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39

The first thing we see here is that we should not love our parents more than Jesus. This does not mean we should not love, respect, and take care of them. Of course, we have to love and take care of them. But our love for Jesus must be more than our love for our parents. Second, we should not love our children more than Jesus. Sadly, in today’s world, where families have only one or two children, children become the objects of their parents’ love and adoration.

Next in verse 38, Jesus says to take up the cross and follow Him. Which cross is this? It is not the cross of Jesus. We all have a cross to carry in this world, but that cross is never your partner! Verse 39 tells us that “whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses it for his sake will find it.” We all strive to create an identity for ourselves. We can never even think about losing it. But Jesus says that we must be prepared to give up everything for His sake if we are to find life. This means that we will lose something when we come to Christ. Have you lost anything or had to give up anything because you came to Him?

We find the same principle in Luke 14: 26, 27. When you study the Gospels, it is a good habit to compare and study the four Gospels. So you get a complete understanding. In verse 26, Luke says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple..” The word used here is ‘hate’, but it means ‘love less’. The truth is that we all love ourselves more than anything else. The Bible says that especially in the last days, people will be lovers of themselves. Matthew, Peter, and all the disciples had to give up many things to follow Jesus. But here Jesus says that we must not only give up many things but also follow Jesus with our cross.

We need to do two things: 1. Follow Jesus 2. Carry our cross and follow Jesus.

Let me ask you a question. How many of you have been hurt by others, by Christians and fellow believers? God’s Word also tells us that “the enemies of a man are his own household.” We have enemies everywhere. God has given us some people in our lives not only to love, forgive, and help, but also to hurt us. He wants us to have a part in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. For that, we do not have to go back 2000 years but carry the cross we have now. The cross of Jesus reminds us that crucifixion of Jesus Christ was for us. It is also true that we were crucified with Jesus. The message God is telling us today is, “You must die to yourself and then let Me live in and through you.”

Let us think about the death of Jesus Christ and what that death was like. Let us meditate on the humiliation, the pain, and the suffering that He endured. 

After Jesus had eaten the Passover with his disciples, He took with him Peter, and the sons of Zebedee, and went to the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew exactly what everyone was going to do next. There Jesus prayed, “Father, take this cup from me; But it is not my will, but yours.” Beloved, this prayer should be ours too. While praying, we see Jesus sweating blood in agony. That is where Jesus’ suffering began. The next moment a group of people came with Judas to arrest Jesus. Judas came and hugged Jesus. At that time Jesus called him “My friend”. Will we ever call those who hurt us ‘friends’? No, never. 

After the betrayal by Judas, Jesus is arrested and taken away that night. Jesus was denied the justice and many of the rights of an ordinary criminal during his arrest and throughout his trial. We often cry out for our rights. When the Lord was tried, He did not utter a single word. The Bible records that Pilate was astonished at his silence. Beloved, after listening to us, others ask, ‘Can Christians talk like this?’ We often forget that we are Christians and talk out loud, argue and quarrel. But let us not forget that Jesus Christ, who had all the rights, remained silent and obedient as a good example. 

Judas betrayed Jesus and the other disciples fled. Jesus was alone when He was taken away. Beloved, let us not complain when our loved ones reject and abandon us. Instead let us look at Jesus on the cross without uttering a word of complaint. The Lord had already told Peter, “You will deny me three times.” Peter not only disowned Jesus but also began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Peter and the other disciples of Jesus disowned and abandoned Jesus. This too caused the Lord great pain. 

Finally, Jesus is brought to the high priest. “Are you the Son of God, King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Yes.” When they heard this, they beat him, hit him with their fists, and spat on his face. They began to physically abuse Jesus. Jesus was scourged and his clothes were torn. The Word says that His body was torn apart by whipping, and the Word tells us that we are healed by those stripes. We can give all the glory to our Lord because it was by His wounds we are healed. The Word says that God the Father allowed Jesus to die on the cross. God the Father did this for our sake. That is why the devil and his group were able to crush Jesus.

Then they put a crown of thorns on Jesus. History tells us that when this crown of thorns is driven into the head, the thorns will pierce the skull and push the internal organs out. After that He Himself had to carry the piece of wood on which He was to be crucified. This piece of wood is never carried by the person to be crucified. Here, too, Jesus was denied justice. Therefore, dear ones, we must bear our own cross. They nailed the Lord to the cross with sharp iron nails. Then the cross was forcefully lowered into a pit and all the bones of the Lord were dislocated. All these things were prophesied in many books of the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms. Words cannot describe the experience of Jesus lying on the cross unable to breathe. Medical science says that it will cause terrible thirst. Jesus cried out, “I am thirsty.” Matthew 27: 33, 34 says, “They gave him wine mixed with a drug called gall to drink; and when he had tasted it, he would not drink.” This ‘bitter wine’ is an artificial drink made to dull the pain. If the Lord Jesus had drunk that wine, the devil would have mocked him, saying, “Jesus drank that bitter wine and lay on the cross without knowing the pain.” But Jesus did not drink the wine, nor did he allow the devil to mock him.

Finally, in John 19: 29,30, we read that “there was a jar of sour wine; they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.” Earlier in Matthew’s gospel, it is said that he did not drink the wine with gall. Because it was a prediction. The night before the Israelites came out of Egypt, they slaughtered a lamb and sprinkled its blood on the beams and the doorposts using a hyssop branch. Here the sour wine represents sin. It was the sin of the world that Jesus drank. While Jesus was drinking the bitterness of that sin, God the Father hid his face for a moment so that he could not see Jesus. Jesus could not even imagine God the Father turning His face away from Him for a moment. This is what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “God, take away this cup from me.” 

Jesus Christ was crucified, but it was Jesus Himself who gave up His Spirit to the Father on the cross. He took on Himself the punishment for the sin of all mankind and paid that debt. That is why we can praise our Lord because now we can come in the Father’s presence. We can thank God that Jesus Christ took all our sins and iniquities and declared us righteous. On the Cross, our sins were laid on Christ and His righteousness was laid on us. That is the Great Exchange.

On the cross, Jesus was still ministering. He saved the thief who was with him and entrusted his mother Mary to the disciple John. Before finally giving up his soul, Jesus did one more thing, and it is the most difficult thing for us to do. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus said. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was completed when He forgave everyone. Similarly, if we forgive everyone who hurt us, our crucifixion will be complete. 

Although artists have traditionally depicted the figure of Jesus on the cross with a loincloth, the person being crucified was usually stripped naked. It shows the ultimate humiliation.

The Romans used to break the crucified person’s legs to ensure he was dead and to die quickly if he did not. The soldiers who had come to break Jesus’ legs noticed that he was already dead. The Old Testament prophecy about Jesus that “none of his bones will be broken” was fulfilled here.  We must not mistakenly believe that this prophecy is for us; it is only for our Lord Jesus Christ. The main highway ran close to the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. Many people who passed this way mocked Jesus for no reason. Thus Jesus became a spectacle to many. We can see from this that God used many people to complete the crucifixion of Jesus.

And after Jesus’ death, we see how God used many other people. To bury Jesus’ body, God used Nicodemus and Joseph the Arimathea. It was not the people who carried Jesus to the cross who brought him down from it. This tells us that those who crucified us (those who harmed us) will never return and apologize to us. It will never happen because God uses them to cause us harm and suffering. God appointed another group to minister to Jesus after the first group had completed the crucifixion. After his crucifixion and death, Jesus was taken to the tomb. Everyone left after Jesus was laid to rest in the tomb. Aren’t there times when we’re also forgotten like this? That tomb also reminds us that we, too, must experience a season of loneliness and darkness. Then comes the dawn of resurrection. Yes, the Lord Jesus has risen from the dead.

We have seen the three stages of the crucifixion: the crucifixion, the tomb, and the resurrection. The Lord Jesus returned to life with new resurrection power. Do we have this power? We can get that power only if we go through a successful crucifixion. Has your crucifixion been completed successfully? Or are you still hanging on that cross? Do you still think that those who harmed you will come to you and apologize? My dear brothers and sisters, they will never return. Those who crucified Jesus did not return, nor did the Lord go out looking for them. Jesus appeared only to those who loved Him. If we were in that situation, we would first appear before Pilate, followed by others who had persecuted us. We should never seek revenge. “Vengeance belongs to the Lord,” the Bible says. Place everything in the hands of our righteous God. Our crucifixion will never be complete if we seek vengeance.  

The important thing to remember today is that if you undergo a successful crucifixion, the power and authority you have for His service will be much greater.

Let us decide to take up our cross and follow Jesus. May the Lord grant us all the grace to carry our cross for the rest of our lives.

Transcribed by: James Philip Koshy

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House of Prayer, Trivandrum
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