I would like to start by mentioning 3 words that we get from crucifixion.
crucial: involving a final or supremely important decision or event; decisive or critical. excruciating: unbearably painful, agonizing, intense, extreme. crucible: a vessel in which substances are heated to high temperatures; a severe trial or test.
We are probably all familiar with the cruelty of crucifixion, it was the most barbaric form of execution that the Romans practised, reserved for her enemies. A Roman citizen could not be crucified. It was a warning to all not resist Rome, it was very painful, shocking and humiliating.
Today I would like to focus on the crucial nature of Jesus' death. We are told in Mark 8:31-32 that "Jesus began to teach His disciples that He must suffer and die."...Peter is severely rebuked for His reaction. In Mark 10:32 we are told that as Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, "those that followed were astonished and afraid." Luke 9:51 tells us that Jesus..."set His face toward Jerusalem", that is He resolutely set out...
Prior to these events Jesus had been teaching with authority, performing various signs that authenticated Him as the Son of God. Unfortunately many thought that this would result in Him establishing an earthly kingdom in which the Romans would be evicted from Israel.
He began to teach the people that He must die and in fact that His followers should also take up their crosses and follow Him. Many stopped following Him because of the difficulty of this teaching. Rev. 5:9-10 tells us that Jesus is worthy because He was slain and with His blood He purchased for God people from every tribe and language and nation. 1 Peter 1: 18 reinforces this idea.
Why is this so crucial? In 1 John 5: 19 we are told that "the whole world is under the control of the evil one". This was a result of the Fall, recorded in Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve essentially handed over authority to Satan by disobeying God and believing his lie. We are told that the consequence of this was death, the separation of us from God and each other. Something had to be done! The Scriptures tell us that at " just the right time, while we were God's enemies, Christ died for us". 1 Peter 2: 24 tells us that "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross." Jesus bearing our sins had been prophesied hundreds of years earlier in the Book of Isaiah (53: 4-6).
It was crucial that Jesus should suffer and die for us and in the crucible of testing, He was found to be genuine. The centurion present at the crucifixion, obviously an experienced, hardened soldier, having witnessed Jesus' death remarked..."surely this man was the Son of God".
This Easter we are in the midst of quite difficult times, in fact we may even feel as if we have been put in a crucible of testing, so we need to focus on what He has achieved for us at Calvary. It is a time perhaps to be refreshed, renewed and revived as we "set our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Who, for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
May God bless you richly with His peace at this time.