The Pastor Writes...
Just for Laffs...
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose in the other members' private lives. Church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon.
She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing.
Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house... and left it there all night!
“Why the Cross?”
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. -Phil. 2:8 (NKJV)
There are a lot of different ways to execute a person, and apparently the Roman Empire was as creative as any at figuring out very painful ways to put people to death. They were known to feed people to lions, tie people’s limbs to four horses and send them running in different directions, they would slowly lower large boulders onto people until they were crushed, and even tie people to posts and set them on fire, just to name a few. So, of all the methods available to the Romans in Jesus’ day, why did they choose the cross? I believe the second line of “The Old Rugged Cross” has the answer. It was seen as “the emblem of suffering and SHAME.”
Of all the methods of torturous execution available to the Roman government, the cross was the one that was used to not only make a person suffer as they died, but also to bring shame and humiliation upon them. They were stripped naked, and literally “hung out to dry” on public display. In most cases it would not be brief, either. The average time it took for a person to die on a cross was three days. We cannot begin to realize the totality of Jesus’ physical suffering for us, but the amount of emotional and even psychological shame He endured for us is even more elusive.
The merciful modern-day firing squad, electric chair, or lethal injection would not suffice in accomplishing the task upon our Savior. The wages of sin is death, and He died for our sins. But most of us know that sin does a lot of damage to us physically and mentally before it ever kills us. The execution style for Jesus was chosen by the Trinity so that through His death atonement would occur in all the arenas of life that sin had taken its toll. By way of the cross we are saved from all of our suffering... and shame, through His suffering... and shame. It is complete, and it is finished! He took away our shame. And that’s Why the Cross!
...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame...
-Heb. 12:2 (NKJV)