This was originally posted on Believing God Today on April 20th 2011 as Holy Week.
As I was pondering the cross of Christ and what that means, I thought of something I would like to write. What came out on paper was another matter altogether. This happens from time to time! If Jesus had not gone to the cross…we would not have forgiveness of sin. We also would not have eternal life with God, instead we would be eternally separated from Him. I for one can’t imagine eternal life with the Living God…even more then that I can’t get a grip on being separated from Him forever!
The cross of Christ…how often it is talked about. The cross should be talked about, no cross…no forgiveness. Jesus paid a very high price for our sins. Can you even imagine being brutally tortured and then being crucified after that? Jesus did this and more.
At the start of Holy week on Palm Sunday we see Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:2-7) while a large crowd of people spread there cloaks on the road (Matthew 21:8) and others spread palm branches on the road. (John 12:13) Why is this so special?
This verse in (Zechariah 9:9) predicts that the Lord will enter Jerusalem on a donkey, See also (Matthew 21:4-5). A donkey was also symbolic of humility and peace. The donkey was as well a symbol of Davidic Royalty. When King David chose his son Solomon to be king, he had Solomon ride on his (David’s) own donkey, (1 Kings 1:33,38-39) which indicated David’s public sanctioning of Solomon being the next king. Spreading ones cloak out before someone was an act of royal homage. Palm branches were used in a victory celebration, and the Apostle John saw a great multitude in heaven (Revelation 7:9) before the throne holding palm branches. So we can see that Jesus upon entry into Jerusalem was treated like royalty. This was of course no accident, if He would not have been acknowledged as He was, the very stones themselves would have cried out. (Luke 19:40)
Then Jesus clears the temple, and then is healing people, (Matthew 21:12-16) and the children were calling out to Him Hosanna to the Son of David. This did not endear Jesus to the Pharisees who were already out to get Him.
On the following day Jesus proceeds to teach the people and warn them about the Pharisees.(Matthew 21:23-24:51) The Pharisees were threatened by Jesus teaching and were actively plotting how they could kill Him.
Jesus disciples made preparations for all of them to eat the Passover meal together. It was during this time Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, (Matthew 26:26-28) giving thanks for the bread and then breaking it and giving it to the disciples and saying, “take and eat; this is my body.” After Jesus took the cup of wine gave thanks and said, “Drink from it all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus also tells who it is that will betray Him.
Jesus then goes to the Mount of Olives into Gethsemane to pray. He takes with Him the inner circle-Peter, James and John. Jesus goes a little further into the garden and prays three times and each time comes back to find the disciples sleeping! Mark 14:34-41 Luke records in his gospel (Luke 22:44) that so great was the anguish of Jesus that He sweat drops of blood (This is medically speaking possible for this to happen). Jesus prayed that the Father would take from Him this cup which He was to drink. Yet He also prayed that the Father’s will be done…not His despite how great the strain was on Jesus.
Jesus is after all this arrested and brought before the high priest and then Pilate. All the while Jesus is taunted and then severely beaten. (John 19:1-3) As all of this is occurring Jesus is not fighting back or even really defending Himself. He allows Himself to be mistreated horribly and accepts it. There is a lot to be said from all this…it would be difficult for any of us to accept these things were they done to us. It would be impossible for any of us to withstand the flogging Jesus took and then carry the cross (part of it) as He did to His crucifixion. Jesus was a bloody mess after what they did to Him, the flogging was much worse then what was normally done to other people. Jesus suffered all this as a man for sure, but the strength He possessed to get through this was garnered from the presence of the Holy Spirit in Him and His belief and confidence in His Father.
Lastly of course Jesus was crucified on the cross. This alone was a painful experience, but He had to take upon Himself all the sin of the world so that we could be forgiven our sins. Jesus also paid the penalty of death and separation from the Father…which is the very penalty those who do not believe will have to pay. This is called the second death. Only for those who do not believe…in the last day at judgement this will be permanent. Believe in Jesus and be saved…He paid a very steep price for your life.