It was an instrument of torture, a cruel form of death reserved for rebels, robbers, and criminals of various kinds. So cruel and painful was the practice that Roman law forbade its use on any Roman citizen.
Nails were driven through the hands and feet and, more often than not, the person being crucified died of asphyxiation as the very weight of their body crushed the lungs. It was a horrible thing, a thing of torture and pain, of suffering and death.
And so it was for Jesus that fateful Friday. Bloody and bruised, mocked and derided, stripped naked and nailed to the cross, he endured the suffering and felt the pain. And the death he died was a death for you and me.
On that day, no one ever loved so much, sacrificed more, or accomplished such a great act. What happened on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem forever changed history.
Before the cross, Jesus cured the sick, fed the hungry, raised the dead, taught God’s love, loved the unlovely, and sought out the lost. After the cross, Christ commissioned the church to preach the Gospel, seek the lost, minister to the wounded, sick, and dying, be in constant prayer, and love all.
On that day, 5 wounds, 5 piercings, changed how God is present to a broken world. As Jesus’ earthly ministry closed, each nail driven into the cross, each wound beckons us to take up where Christ left off.
We are called to be Jesus’ hands.
Even in this time of social distancing, we need to think of the sick, the hurting, the dying. We need to restore hope to the hopeless. Our hands are now called to the work of the ministry. We need to get out of our comfort zones and lovingly share the message of hope!
We are called to be Jesus’ feet.
Jesus taught us of the responsibility and privilege to follow in His footsteps. Where have our feet taken us for the kingdom of God? As we shelter in place, are we still caring for our neighbors? If Jesus is our Savior, we are called to be His feet!
We are called to proclaim Jesus King, Our Savior, Messiah
As a cruel joke, one nail posted the reason for Jesus’ death: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Jesus deserved to be born in a palace, not a stable. He deserved a throne instead of a cross. Jesus, then, is not simply “a” king. He is “THE” King!
As Jesus hung there on the cross that fateful Friday, he experienced it all — the shame and humiliation, the suffering and pain, the weight of our sins and wrongdoings. And through it all, he also knew that by his wounds we would be made well.
The placard stating, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” should be torn from the cross and nailed to our hearts!