How serious is the cross of Jesus Christ? Is it really serious to pick it up and follow Him? Does the world, satan and the flesh make it difficult automatically when we do pick it up? Or do we put it back down when we suffer as a consequence? Suffering is a true witness of those who have faith. For they are counted worthy to suffer for His sake. If we are not willing to suffer for the sake of Christ as He suffered so much for us, then our faith is in vain. The cross is where Jesus Christ became a living sacrifice. Sacrificing Himself and everything for us, so we can have the choice of life through Him by faith.
Their faith is in vain, those who are offended by the cross. The cross is an offence to them that perish foolishly in their sins. Believing their self-righteousness and good works justifies them. These are hypocrites who persecute the godly that pick up the cross because they themselves refuse to pick it up. Their righteousness is seen in contrast to the pious, like Jesus surpassing the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. As the Scribes and Pharisees wanted Jesus dead, so do those who want Him dead in His people.
There are also those that are religiously ignorant. In their eyes the cross is not seen rightly. Wearing it as a piece of Jewry to outwardly show their faith, or superstitiously around the neck. To some it is just a historical fact, according to God’s word.
Was the pain and suffering of Jesus in vain? People despised Him, and He was a reproach amongst men. He became a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. Men hid their faces and esteemed Him not, and yet He bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Being wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement (punishment) of our peace was upon Him to reconcile man back to God; and by His stripes we are healed. All of us like sheep has gone astray, everyone according to their own way. And the Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet opened not His mouth. They brought Him as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he open not His mouth. He was taken from prison to judgement before crucifixion; And therefore was cut off from the land of the living. For the transgression of God’s people He was stricken. Read Isaiah 53:3-8
In the book of Psalm it details the crucifixion.”22 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” Psalm 22:1-17
The process of crucifixion was excruciating. Before nailing someone to a cross, the Roman soldiers would tie the person’s hands around a stone, so their back would be completely exposed, and then the front. Many lashes would be given with a diabolical, painful instrument that had leather strands, and at the end of each strand was a sharp object. Sharp enough to tear flesh. After Jesus was beaten and wounded by the soldiers, they placed a crown of thorns on His head and covered Him in a robe. Mocking Him, saying, Jesus King of the Jews, and spitting on Him. He was sent to Calvary as He was whipped by the soldiers carrying the heavy cross. When a person was nailed to the cross, the hands on each end would be nailed down, and their feet would be positioned, so the nail can go through both simultaneously. Christ had to lift Himself up with His nailed pierced hands and feet in order to inhale, while His body was covered in wounds. Every time He took a breath He was in incomprehensible pain. The Individual usually hung for several days until their lungs gave up. Death by asphyxiation (suffocation) or exhaustion. But Christ died early to everybody’s surprise.
He tread the wine press alone. Abandoned by His disciples. And no longer having the assurance of the Father with Him, filled His soul with an inexplicable sorrow. He died without hope, without seeing beyond the grave, and the burden of our sins pressed saw upon His heart. Jesus Christ died of a cardiac rupture because of extreme cardiac stress, which is a heart attack. The weight of the world’s sins cause His heart to collapse from within. The heart of Christ literally burst inside His chest. Hence, His early death. Sin had broken the heart of the loving Saviour. Saving the world through a self sacrificial love. Who was the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world.
Sin brings grief to the heart of God. A heart sorrow which is unimaginable. And yet He suffers long for our sake. Therefore, we must not as Christians take advantage of His love and grace. We should come weeping to the throne of grace. Asking God to change our hearts and renew a right spirit in us. To take away this heart of stone, and give us a heart of flesh. We should pick up the cross with Christ in mind. For He went through it all for us, so why can’t we go through it all for Him.