He Took Your Place!

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
   Today is Good Friday, the day when we reflect upon the events that took place in order for us to have eternal life. I find myself more emotional each year, as I grow Spiritually and learn more about Jesus. The more I read and study the Bible, the more real the celebrated Biblical events in this season become. I don’t think anyone can truly grasp nor understand the reality and magnitude of how and why Jesus suffered and died for us. He is our substitute. We deserve to die because of our sins, but He took our place!
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13–14
A few reasons we probably don’t grasp the true reality of these events:
  • They took place over 2000 years ago. As years go by, we become more removed from the events that took place in our past generations.
  • Pictures, statues, and even the films don’t depict the true gruesomeness and severity of the events.
  • Crucifixions aren’t performed in our age. Very few details are spelled out in scripture, probably because it was a common form of punishment in those days.
  • We weren’t physically there to witness His last hours, therefore, we can’t imagine it in a real sense. Similarly, I heard the news, heard people’s stories, and even saw pictures of 9/11, the hurricanes, fires and floods, but I can’t begin to grasp the reality like the people who were actually affected.
  • People who have a distant relationship with Jesus or don’t know Him at all, naturally don’t understand the impact of the Crucifixion.
Here’s a watered-down summary of the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion based on Dr. C. Truman Davis’s more detailed writing:
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly:
and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:44
   Jesus prayed much on a regular basis, BUT Luke 22:44 says he prayed MORE earnestly the night before His crucifixion. What if we would pray a portion of what He prayed that night? And He had sweat as great drops of blood (a condition called Hematidrosis). THAT’s some severe stress!
Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said,
“Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. Mark 14:65
   After they arrested Him, He was spit on, blindfolded, and beaten. Blindfolded so he couldn’t dodge the punches. His eyes were no doubt swollen shut from the beatings to the face.
and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Matthew 27:26b
    Flogging typically involved a whip with leather thongs embedded with bits of metal, bone, or glass. His back would have been shredded and severe loss of blood.
and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. Matthew 27:29a
    Then they put a ‘crown of thorns’ on His head, and they weren’t gentle with that!
    Crucifixion is the most painful death ever invented by man. It was invented by the Persians and perfected by the Romans. It was primarily used for the most vicious criminals. The cross was laid on the ground and Jesus was placed on his back, arms stretched out and nailed to the crossbar. Long nails were then driven in the wrists in a precise place that would sever the largest nerve in the hand.
The knees were flexed about 45 degrees and the feet were bent downward with a nail driven through the feet so it would sever the artery. This position on the cross results in a horrific sequence of events which results in a slow, painful death.
    Jesus knew this was the will of God, yet he still asked three times in the garden: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” Matthew 26:39b
    Being fully God yet fully human, His human nature struggled with accepting the brutal torture ahead. In Matthew 26:41 He tells the disciples that “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
    He knew He had to go through with it in order for you and I to be able to spend eternity with Him and He loved us enough to endure it all.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Matthew 28:5-6
    Though the last hours were dark and traumatic, the happy ending is in Matthew 28:5-6, “He has risen, just as he said.
How ‘real’ to you are the events leading up to the Resurrection?
Have you truly thought about how these events affect you personally?
~Joanie Lawrence-Cain