Having mocked the Lord Jesus, they stripped Him of the scarlet robe, clad Him again in His own garments, and led Him out to crucify Him.  Still, the Lord utters not a word of reproach, but silently goes to the hill of crucifixion like a lamb to the slaughter.  So weak was Jesus from hours without sleep, from immense physical pain, spiritual and emotional anguish, and loss of blood, that Simon the Cyrenian was compelled to bear His cross.  But none could share with Him in carrying the great load of guilt and misery that now pressed Him down like a cart pressed under sheaves.  That winepress He must tread alone, with none to support.  Even the presence of His heavenly Father must soon be withdrawn from Him, for the absence of God’s favor is the necessary consequence of the imputation of sin.

They led Jesus to a place on Mount Calvary called Golgotha, probably so called because there was a rock formation there shaped like a human skull.  This ugly, barren crest would witness the greatest and most dramatic scene in all history, as the Son of God wrestled alone with all the powers of darkness, bearing a burden of sin so great that no man can begin to fathom, forsaken by God and crushed by Him because He was counted as an unclean thing.  Nowhere is divine hatred for sin more explicitly demonstrated than at the cross.  It is witnessed in the destruction of the antediluvian world, in the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the destruction of Jerusalem, first by Nebuchadnezzar and later by Titus Veaspasian; it is witnessed with painful clarity in the devouring flames of hell, which eternally consume all the adversaries of God.  But these things witness nothing more than sinful men and devils receiving their just reward.  On the cross, we see that God will spare not even His only begotten Son when sin is charged to Him.  The One Who shared His glory before the world was, lying in His bosom in intimate communion in the distant ages of eternity, the one in Whom the Father had proclaimed Himself well pleased on two occasions; so greatly does God abhor sin that when this precious, sinless, well loved, only begotten Son was charged with sin, He could not be spared, but must endure all the horrors of the cross, including the forsaking of God’s favorable presence, the conscious agony of being counted an unclean thing, the great travail of soul that must come upon all who are punished to the full extent that God’s righteous law demands.  Jesus Christ must suffer as though He were an idolater, as though He were a blasphemer and Sabbath breaker.  The sinless Son of man must suffer as though He had been a murderer like Manasseh, an adulterer like David, a thief like the man on the cross next to Him, a liar Peter had just been, a covetous wretch like every sinner must confess himself to be.  Every sin which we can conceive of, every sin which we can recollect committing, we ought never to forget that our Lord Jesus suffered as though He Himself had done those sins.  He did this so that we might never suffer their penalty.  The law demanded a fearsome curse to be exacted against its violators.  We have violated that law, and fully earned the curse.  But Christ was made a curse for us, thereby redeeming us from the curse of the law.  That He was made a curse is shown by the very nature of His death, for the law proclaimed that “he that is hanged is accursed of God.”  So then, when those cruel spikes were driven through the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus, when the cross was lifted up, and He suspended between heaven and earth, pinned to that rugged tree, God was proclaiming that the curse of the law was upon Him, and that He must suffer on account of it.  But also, He would have it proclaimed that this is the place of pardon.  Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so that every sufferer who looked upon it might be healed, so he who looks in faith to Jesus suffering upon the cross, will not perish, but will obtain everlasting life.

 

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