One Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Have you ever thought about the cross? It was just a piece of wood. It came from an everyday tree. It was shaped for one purpose: death! Think about the cross you may be wearing, or the one you see during your church service. Have you ever really thought about the pain this one piece of wood caused?
History knows about the cross, and some people have despised it. The cross is worn by millions of people. It is often gold-plated and worn as jewelry—usually not to symbolize what it really means, or to show our faith. But the cross really means dying. A cross was used to punish the guilty. It displayed the offender in front of others so they would “learn a lesson” and not do the same thing. Bottom line: It was a torture device to show the power of the leaders during their time.
People try to ignore the significance of the cross, but they can’t. It is the piece of lumber that makes the biggest claim in the history of man. After all, when Jesus was here on earth, He hung on that cross, claiming to be the Savior for all mankind. He even had the nerve to claim He was God Himself!
Jesus was a carpenter and knew how hard it was to toil each day with his hands and a hammer. He had calluses on His hands even though those hands touched a blind man’s eyes and caused him to see. He used those same calloused hands when He touched a leper and he was healed. He knew what hard work was, and yet He had a tender touch that healed hundreds of people.
This is the God of love brought down to earth in the form of a man—a person with flesh and blood like you and me. Full of hurts. Full of sadness. Full of fear. Didn’t He cry out to God to “take this cup from Me”? Wasn’t He whipped, slapped and spat upon? Didn’t He slowly and painfully walk with that cross on His shoulders knowing that He would soon be hung on it and go through tremendous hurt and suffering? From the cross, didn’t He ask God why He had forsaken Him? Wouldn’t you have a little fear?
So we have the cross ready for the crucifixion. How about those nails? They weren’t tiny nails you’d use to build a birdhouse in the backyard. These were spikes—large nails about five inches long. They crushed the bones and caused pain that was beyond description.
Imagine your fear as they placed your left hand on that cross and get ready to pound that nail through your hand. The mallet comes down, and you scream in pain. But before you can catch your breath, they are nailing your right hand down.
Now that they have you securely part of the cross, they put your feet together, one on top of the other and slam another spike through both of them at once.
Do you feel the pain? Do you get the picture? Can you now relate to the sacrifice that Jesus had to go through so that you wouldn’t have to?
He was hurting, He was in great pain, and He cried out to God, just like you and I would, but He knew what He was doing had to be done for you and me.
He even had to look down and see the soldiers gambling for His clothes. That must have made Him feel even worse. They were at His feet, but they didn’t even know He was the Savior. He didn’t scold them. He didn’t cry out in anguish. He wanted them to know the One whose clothes they were throwing the dice for would come back to give them another chance.
Think of His arms spread out across the cross. Open arms. Arms that will hold you and show you love when we are in heaven.
Think even deeper about a mother watching her son die. Having Mary watch Him die had to cause Jesus another level of pain—perhaps even worse than any whippings or the nails driven through His hands and feet. He gave her one final look and then He said good-bye, handing her over to John’s care. Think of what Mary went through right at the moment He said, “It is finished.” Her son was dead, and she had to watch Him slowly fade away from her.
One final gesture. One more time of showing us how much He loved us. One last effort to tell us to seek Him so we can be with Him in heaven. After all, He died for us so we wouldn’t have to feel the pain. It is that simple. He went through all the torture, pain, aloneness, fear, for each one of us.
The next time you see a cross around someone’s neck or see one on top of a church, think of what Jesus went through so you can have eternal life. Try to see Him on that cross, with the crown of thorns on his head and the crimson blood flowing down His face. He is looking at you, and wants you to know that it is OK. He wants you to know that He did this for you, so that you will have eternal life. It should give you a much stronger feeling of what the cross stands for.
This is love: not that we loved God, but the he loves us and
sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10
Take time each day to thank God for sending His only Son to die for you on the cross. Start out every prayer time, or devotional time, praising God for what He has done for you. The whole meaning of Christianity started with the cross. Think about how the love Jesus flowed out for you through His blood on the cross.
Something to ponder
Isn’t it funny how some people wear the cross and never know what it means?
(Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.)