Published April 15, 2014

Paul's Epistle...
"The Cross – Worth It?"

Hollywood has tried. Really tried!  But no graphic images of Christ hanging on the Cross, no actor's portrayal of His great suffering (no matter how skilled), could come close to depicting the actual agony Jesus suffered as He bled and died there.

The Lord's flesh had been ripped open countless times by the Roman scourging. Much skin was ripped off in the process, laying bare raw subcutaneous tissue. Bleeding profusely, He was battered mercilessly by the Roman guards. He was subjected to brutal torture as He summoned what little physical strength He had left to carry His Cross through the streets of Jerusalem on the way to Golgotha. He was nailed – nailed! – to the Cross with railroad spike-sized nails. Medical experts say the Lord's physical suffering was unbelievably excruciating. (In fact, that word, excruciating, comes from the same root as crucifixion.) While it sometimes took days for crucified criminals to die, Christ died in hours – because of all He'd gone through. Scholars believe His physical torture was among the worst the Romans could muster.

But why did Christ have to go through all this? And was the unimaginable agony worth it?

Jesus' crucifixion on the Cross was not just something that happened. It was not simply the result of the way the religious leaders of the day got stirred up over His teachings. It was not some "unintended consequence."

Jesus knew in advance what would happen. In fact, He said, in so many words, that it was for that very reason that He came into the world. And He predicted it all at least three times to his confused and non-comprehending disciples. In Luke 18:32, speaking of Himself, He said, "For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." How much clearer could it be?

But why? Well, John 1:3 affirms that "all things were made through Him [Jesus], and without Him nothing was made that was made." And Colossians 1:16 tells us that "by Him [Jesus] ... all things were created through Him and for Him..." If Christ created us for Himself, can you imagine the pain he endured when man sinned? (No you can't – because it's a God-size pain that we couldn't possibly understand.) But He knew before He made the world what would happen. And He already knew what He would have to do. (That boggles the mind.)

Karen Peck & New River sing a song1 that puts it this way:

      You did it anyway.
      You walked up on that hill.
      The sounds of sacrifice are ringing still.
      You knew the magnitude of the price You'd have to pay.
      But for me, You did it anyway.


But why?

Sin has a penalty attached. Human sin causes separation from God. It always has, it always will. It's a temporary separation if we ask Him to forgive our sins. It's a permanent separation if we don't. Christ, the perfect sacrifice, came to pay that sin penalty for us – if we accept His offer of salvation.

Think about this. Knowing what would happen when man first sinned, knowing He would have to die an excruciating death on the Cross to pay the penalty for that sin, He decided He would rather die than live eternally without us.

Read that again – Christ decided He would rather die a painful bodily death than to live eternally without us. Without you. Without me. What amazing love! John writes, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16). And, in this way, He made it possible for us to live with Him eternally. That's why He died. Hebrews 12:2-3 tells us about Christ's motivation: "...He was willing to die a shameful death on the Cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterwards..."2 That "joy" would be the salvation of all who accept Him as Savior and Lord — and an eternal, joyous fellowship with them in heaven.

So – was Jesus' death on the Cross worth it?

HE obviously thought so.

But what do you think? Was it worth it to you? Whether you accept His offer of salvation – bought with His blood on the Cross – or, instead, reject His offer ... is how you decide if His death was worth it to you.

- Paul
___

1. "You Did It Anyway," Don Poythress, Rich Als, John Colgin, Integrity Worship Music/Eight Oaks Music ASCAP, from Karen Peck & New River's "Revival" CD.
2. Living Bible paraphrase.


Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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