What We Know about the Crucifixion of Christ
Luke’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus threatens to overwhelm the reader, as the details of his abuse at the hands of his executioners rush upon us like a relentless flood that leaves us helpless and emotionally wrecked (see Luke 23:26-49). Continue reading . . .
Luke’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus threatens to overwhelm the reader, as the details of his abuse at the hands of his executioners rush upon us like a relentless flood that leaves us helpless and emotionally wrecked (see Luke 23:26-49). It is hard enough to envision our Lord as the object of scorn, ridicule, and mockery. That the sinless, spotless Lamb of God should then be subjected to the vile taunting and torturous mistreatment of such men is more than we can fathom.
Two thieves were executed on either side of our Lord, but of their deaths we can say no more than that they suffered justly for crimes committed. But what can we say when the Lord of Glory is nailed to a cross? We say this.
We know that at the cross God was hostile toward us and punished Jesus in our stead. Yet we also know that at the cross God was loving us, so much so that he gave his only begotten Son.
We know that our great Triune God is immutable and that the union between Father, Son, and Spirit is unbreakable. Yet we also know that on the cross hung God the Son, forsaken by God the Father.
We know that God is the essence of all life. He is its source and sustainer. Yet we also know that somehow at Calvary the God-man, Jesus, died.
We know that God is infinitely righteous, pure, and holy, in whom there is no defect and of whom nothing evil can be said. Yet we also know that God "made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf" (2 Cor. 5:21).
One of the most wonderful declarations in Scripture is Paul’s assurance that no matter what we encounter in life or in death, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). It is here in Luke’s narrative that we discover why the apostle could speak with such robust confidence. To put it simply, we shall never be separated from the love of God because Jesus, in our place, was separated and forsaken and suffered the wrath we deserved.
All of us have experienced some season of loneliness. You may be immersed in it right now. But as painful and depressing as it may be, of this you may be absolutely certain. Your heavenly Father will never, by no means ever turn his back on you. He will never, by no means ever turn away his face. He will never, by no means ever forsake you. How can you be so sure? Look to the cross. The only God-forsakenness that you ever had cause to fear was endured to an infinite and immeasurable degree by your Lord and Savior, Jesus.
[This article was first published in the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible, available from Crossway Publishers, 2014.]