After being beaten and mocked, Jesus was nailed to a cross of wood and left there to die. To most of us, this is the image we get...
However, I know it my heart to be true, that it really looked more like this...
Jesus's death was horrible. It was graphic. Every inch of Jesus had been whipped and bloodied. The cross behind Jesus was covered in blood. Blood dripped from the nails that had been hammered into his hands and feet. Due to his outstretched arms, Jesus had to hold himself up with his legs so his lungs would stay open. When Jesus's strength to hold himself up gave out, he suffocated to death.
Jesus suffered all of this (graphic) violence for us. For me.
The whole time Jesus was on the cross (which was upwards of 12 hours, so I've heard. Can you imagine hanging on the cross for so long?) He said seven things. Seven things that the world should never forget.
The Word of Forgiveness. Luke 23:34 - "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"
The Word of Salvation. Luke 23:43 - "Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise"
The Word of Relationship. John 19:26-27 - "Jesus saw his own mother, and the disciple standing near whom he loved. He said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother." And from that hour, he took his mother into his family."
The Word of Abandonment. Matthew 27:46 - "Around the ninth hour, Jesus said in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?", which means "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
The Word of Distress. John 19:28 - "I thirst"
The Word of Triumph. John 19:30 - "It is finished."
The Word of Reunion. Luke 23:46 - "And speaking in a loud voice, Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I committ my spirit.""
Shortly after that, Jesus took his last breath, and died.
I hold these seven statments close to my heart. I try to imagine them as Jesus would have said them. Some of the passages state "in a loud voice", which leads me to believe the other statements were whispered, Jesus being in too much pain to call aloud.
On the third day, as was tradition during this time period, women went to Jesus's tomb to annoint his body for burial. When they got to the tomb, they found the stone had already been rolled away. They peered inside.
Jesus had risen from the dead! He was alive! Just like he said he would be! Matthew 28:6 - "He is not here, he has risen, just as he said."
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
My sins caused Jesus Christ to be beaten and humiliated. Jesus Christ carried my sins on his back as he dragged his cross through the streets. My sins died with him on the cross. Jesus defeated death forever when he rose from the dead. I will have eternal life with God in heaven.
My Jesus sure is a great guy!