Saturday, April 4, 2015

PALS WITH THE BIG G PART 15: The Sign of the Cross

My final post for Good Friday, 2015 is pretty topical and builds on some of my past posts.

Going into Good Friday, I decided it would be a good idea to do a quick bit of research into what actually happens when someone is crucified. Why was it that Jesus had to be crucified? And what does this type of death mean for us, even 2,000 years later?

Per Wikipedia, Crucifixion is a form of slow and painful execution in which the victim is nailed to large wooden cross and left to hang until dead.

That's pretty obvious, right? But what that simple definition does not tell you is that those sentenced to die this way are first tortured, then paraded to their place of execution before being killed publicly in front of a large group of on-lookers, finally their corpses are left to rot until decomposed or eaten by animals. It is not a an attractive or honorable death, and victims are left completely vulnerable to the crowd and elements. It is a death meant to install fear in witnesses, and provide maximum abuse in all forms to those sentenced to die in this fashion.

So then, why did Jesus choose this way to die? I think it was to experience the very pinnacle of human evil, and to suffer this evil not only at the hands of those who wanted him dead, but at the hands of the people he had been serving for years as he traveled and who had celebrated his arrival in their city. To show us the hypocrisy of ourselves and the worst we could do to each other.

And this is the challenge to the Christian community: to suffer the worst humanity has to offer, but without losing love for the ones who torture us. To be able to look back at our persecutors and say, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they are doing." If our Master could do this, can we not go that far as well? Are we also willing to carry our crosses in the face absolute terror?

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