Series: Running toward the Prize. #9. “Jesus endured the cross” (Heb.12:2).

Series: Running toward the Prize. #9. “Jesus endured the cross” (Heb.12:2).

It has been often said, “The same crowd that cried, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,’ at Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, later screamed at his trial, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’” Public executions have been carried out for millennia. They served two basic purposes.

Firstly, justice was being seen to be done, and secondly, fear of punishment was being instilled into the populous by the powers that be.

The Jewish leadership wanted Jesus dead and discredited. Not because he claimed to be the Christ (plenty of lunatics made that claim), but because people were believing it of him. They were witnessing for themselves the authority of his teachings and the power of his miracles. To have Jesus killed, the religious leaders had to first persuade the Romans to execute him, and that they easily did.

It was all in a day’s work for the bored Roman soldiers to flog a man to within an inch of his life. To them, Jesus was just another common criminal to be tortured and left to die naked on a cross. Crosses were for traitors, and for anyone else that the average citizen would be well advised to remember to forget. No dignity in death there!

What made Jesus’ crucifixion exceptional? But Jesus endured the ignominy of the cross. He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father as the One who counted the shame of crucifixion as nothing because the resulting joy made it worth it. (Heb.12:2). I’ll let the writer of the Book of Hebrews answer that question from earlier in his letter: “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Heb.2:9). We live because He died.

John Staiger


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