Summary: Grace & Mercy
There is a song that was written based upon this scripture, the song writer penned, When Jesus hung on Calvary. People came from miles to see. They said if you be the Christ, then come down and save your life. But on this Good Friday I stand before you to say, well we know he could have, but Thank God He didn’t, Ain’t you Glad?!
Let’s break this down, and evaluate just how traumatic this thing the cross and crucifixion was. The cross, the chief symbol of Christian religion. Utilized at one time as an instrument of death, the cross was abhorred by both Jews and Romans; although the Romans administered execution by crucifixion, if you were a Roman you could not be crucified. The victim was first scourged - beaten - whipped - prior to preceding - scholars believe this was done to hasten the death. The victim was then nailed to the beams of the cross with either nails or stakes. Piercing a stake through the palm, sometimes also at the wrist. Another two stakes into your sides. Then crossing your legs, a peg is driven into both feet.
In some instances the person was given a potion to help deaden the pain. The combination of the inflamed and infected wounds, fever, shock, heat, exposure, hunger, thirst, pain, delirium, internal bleeding made crucifixion a horrid means of death. The time required for death to occur varied, but rarely came before a minimum of thirty-six hours elapsed. Which explains the astonishment of Pilate we he was informed of the death of Jesus after only a few hours. But the fact that this man who had done no wrong, who had the authority to raise the dead, heal the sick, could have saved himself. He did not have to suffer the sins of the world, He could have come down, but he didn’t. Ain’t You Glad!
This was Jesus’ destiny. The fact that he had the audacity to speak out against the traditions of Jewish authorities, and combined with his evident divine powers; caused those with power to become outraged. These enraged men out of jealousy and contempt condemned this man of mercy to death. Even though the law would not permit the death of Christ in Rome - the people of power were so zealous in obtaining the eradication of Jesus they took him to the governor to obtain the desired result. By the cover of the shadows of darkness, they whisked Jesus - shifting and rearranging the charges in order to obtain their unjustified result - but the amazing thing is not that these persons went to such great lengths to procure their means - the amazing wonder of this whole incident is that Jesus could have saved himself, but he didn’t - ain’t you glad!
Ain’t that Good News!?! Because Jesus was convicted of a crime never committed, hung between two thieves, and bled and died for us, the cross and his actions enables each of us the opportunity to find forgiveness - to be reconciled to our Father. Oh our Father so loved us, he chose to initiate a rescue mission to save his children who were drifting aimlessly in a sea of sin in a leaking lifeboat. He sent out the rescue party that came in the form of our Savior - Jesus Christ. He threw out the lifeline - the blood of Jesus that was shed. He secured our safety when we could have come down, but he didn’t, Ain’t you Glad!
What does all this mean? Why so much focus on the cross - the crucifixion - and the fact that He would not come down from the cross? We need to understand the importance of the factors in order to have a strong relationship with God. If the comprehension of the importance of the cross and the effect it has on our reconciliation is vague, it would make it difficult to absorb in ones mind the magnitude of the love God has for us. We need to understand that he is more than a vague, distant force - but instead he is our father whose desire is to make sure his children are provided for and protected. In order for the crucifixion to carry justification, we must be aware of the importance of the opportunity of reconciliation.
This knowledge, will allow us in this Christian journey the desire to strive to live holy. Because we understand that Jesus paid the ransom note that freed us from the kidnapper’s grasp - Satan himself - we are grateful to our savior who could have come down, but didn’t - oh ain’t you glad?
Three Crosses - were on the mount - when Jesus was crucified. These emblems of guilt and shame were the source of death of three persons on that day. One of the crosses could be considered the cross of rejection - for it held one of the two thieves crucified - who did not admit his own guilt but instead jeered at Jesus asking him why he wouldn’t save himself. He wasn’t attempting to ask for forgiveness in his final moments - he was not angry with himself for the wrongs he had done. Instead he was angry because he had gotten caught, and here adjacent to him was a man who had the power to save him - but appeared to be to stupid to use the power he had to save himself. He was doubtful in the ability of Jesus, not understanding the purpose of the cross or the crucifixion or the Christ. He was confused to think that the fact that he could have come down but he didn’t was a sign of weakness. This was the work of the advisory - Satan - his purpose is to cause confusion and doubt and disbelief. Since the beginning of time he has caused the children of God to doubt the ability of God. Whenever you find the factor of doubt - you will find Satan is on the scene stirring up confusion. This doubt factor is a factor in many of our lives today. Seeing things only on the surface, not quite understanding the magnitude or scope of God’s perfect plan. Each trial and each turmoil throwing us into a frenzy because of our lack of belief and faith. You see the devil is the author of confusion. He thrives when we worry and doubt God. He enjoys it when we lose focus on the fact that Jesus could have come down, but he didn’t ! He wants us to doubt the fact that this is the source of our salvation. His goal is that we meet him at the gates of Hell - but because of the cross - the crucifixion - and the Christ - the gates of Hell will not prevail! Oh - he could have come down, but he didn’t ain’t you glad!