Had to detour off our journey today to share some thoughts about the cross. For a cool video, go to Godtube and search, "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming." Friday must have been a pretty gloomy day for believers. That day seemed to crush the hopes of all who followed Jesus. Making it to the top of the hill was not a good thing that day. A hill called Mt. Calvary represented everything but the top. It was occasion for despair, disillusionment, depression and distrust. Instead of seeing Jesus on the cross as the first step of the destruction of death, they saw His death as the destruction of all they had lived for. They had left their careers and many their families to follow Jesus to the cross. That was the farthest thing from their imagination. In a weird way they felt His willingness to die on the cross was a betrayal of all they had sacrificed. They thought they were going to follow Jesus as He ushered in a new Kingdom. They might even have a prominent place in that Kingdom. They thought the future was bright when Jesus said "follow me". Why else would you leave everything to follow someone you had just met?
Good Friday to them was Bad Friday. No kingdom in sight. Not only did they stare defeat in the face, they watched someone they loved endure the worst imaginable punishment, torture, ridicule and shame. What had just happened? This invincible leader was powerless in the hands of these arrogant wicked men. This man who had healed the sick, delivered the possessed and oppressed, restored dignity to sinners had been betrayed by that very same public. They swapped Him out for a criminal. Their hearts were full of pain as they witnessed this horrible degrading treatment of their master. They followed the trail of blood from the public square to Golgotha, where it now puddled at the foot of the cross. We must do something! Not a muscle would move in protest, for their hearts were as full of fear as it was pain. There was nothing they could do, but fear for their own life.
Torn up inside, because they felt He could do something to save Himself. They had witnessed His miracles. They knew storms calmed at His command, cripples walked, the blind could see and the dead rise to life when He spoke. Why would He not do something? Speak! Defend yourself! Do something for Heaven's sake. Too much is at stake for you to stay on the cross. Their minds had to be exploding with these kind of thoughts as they stood at the foot of the cross.
The real question is what was going through the mind of Jesus. Talk about mind explosion. Physical pain beyond comprehension. The weight of sin of the world on His shoulders. The eyes of His mother gazed up at Him, revealing her love and her pain. For her sake why did He not end it all. He knew He could have called ten thousand angels and they would have rescued Him and slain the whole bunch responsible for this horrid day. He could have done anything He wanted. You and I would have in a second.
It is one thing to be willing to die for someone, we all would diefor any one of our children, but it is another thing to endure the shame and pain of the cross when at any moment you could step down. It was not the religious leaders that kept him on the cross. It was not the political leaders that kept him on the cross. It was not the soldiers that kept him on the cross. It was not the public that kept him on the cross. It was not even the nails that kept him on the cross. It was you and I that kept him on the cross. Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us it was for the "joy" set before Him that He endured the cross. Thoughts of you and I on His mind kept Him on the cross. He knew the finished work of the cross meant freedom for you and I. It was the only way that we overcome the power of sin, the victory of the grave and sting of death.
His passionate love for us and the thoughts of an eternity He would get to spend with those dear children was enough to resist the temptation to step down. He endured for YOU! Wow! Wow! Lord make me more willing to bear the burden and shame of the cross. Let my love for Him give me an enduring spirit in my service to Him. He gave His life for me, let me spend my life for Him. It will certainly be an adventure that only the hearty will endure. I want to be one that endures. How about you? JOIN THE JOURNEY!