What If We Had Witnessed Jesus' Crucifixion? - Today Can Be Different

The words on the page are vivid. So excruciatingly vivid that you wish the plot would read differently. Emotions catch in your throat, and suddenly, you’re there – part of the story.

“Stop!” you scream as soldiers viciously beat Jesus. But the slapping, mocking and whipping continues. You cover your ears, desperate to shut out the pounding of the hammer and the sound of Jesus’ screams as the nails tear through His flesh. When you look up, you see Him hanging on a wooden cross – beaten and bloody.

Unrecognizably bloody.

Six agonizing hours pass before He bows His head and dies.

“No!” You drop to your knees in devastating grief. “Why?!”

The scene fades, but your heart continues to ache. As you read on, more tears fall. Tears of amazement. Tears of indebtednes. After years of not understanding the gospel message, you finally get it.

“You suffered all of that …” you whisper as the reality sinks in “… for me?”

What would inspire such an act of amazing, incomprehensible love? Hebrews 12:2 (ESV) answers this question:

Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.

I’m confident Jesus looked forward to defeating Satan by His death, resurrection, and return to heaven. Yet as magnificent as those motivations were, I believe we (each one of us) were a big part of the joy that was set before Him.

Our heavenly Father knew that if Jesus didn’t die and rise from the grave, we would suffer the unbearable consequences of our sins – from the moment we were born all the way through eternity. Had Jesus not borne the punishment for our sins, life and death would be unimaginably, horrifically different.

Picture yourself enslaved to sin. Devoid of unconditional love. Hopeless with no assurance of an eternity with our Savior.

Thankfully, we don’t have to envision these scenarios.

Our Savior, “for the joy that was set before him,” chose to endure the cross – even before we knew we needed Him to.

What about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)

  • How different would your life be if Jesus had not died for you?

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