Average read time: 3 minutes
He was so much more than just a good man, a more than just a blue-collar worker, a healer, a son, a teacher, a friend. In his short time on earth, he had given so much and so freely. Yet, there he was, alone and bleeding—disgraced and dying the death of the convicted.
It wasn’t a clean and proper death; it didn’t happen in his old age at a hospital with the care of professionals. There was no modern medicine to ease the pain. He wasn’t lying in a comfortable bed, lovingly surrounded by family, with an aged or sick hand held by a dear friend. And it wasn’t the kind of accidental, instant death stemming from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a death that one can’t see coming like the quick heat of a car crash or lightening strike or fallen tree.
And it surely wasn’t the death of a king. No, kings die young in valiant battle or elderly in a gilded room surrounded by loyal subjects and royal family.
This death was brutal and embarrassing: His own blood dripping down his arms; his own skin open and naked for a crowd of onlookers; his own hands and feet restricted and immobile.
And here I am, one of the many benefactors of this Man’s death, and I cannot even stomach pulling my shirt down for an EKG or aside for blood to be drawn from my right arm at the doctor’s office. It’s too embarrassing, too vulnerable—and it makes me feel weak and passive and subject to the hands of others who don’t know me or my body.
But Jesus gave up himself to an embarrassing, lonely death, fully subjected to the hands of those who didn’t know him.
I don’t like giving up control of much, let alone control of my physical self. I cannot fathom what that must have been like for him: Here’s the God of the Universe, Maker of Heaven and Earth, He who holds time in His hands, fully giving up control of his own body to others to redeem the world.
His mom couldn’t hold his hand through it. His brother wasn’t kneeling beside him as he died in some comfortable bed. It was a lonely and solitary, desolate death. And he did not die the valiant, shining death of a king in battle, although we now know what he was fighting for and all that he won on that day.
He gave of himself fully as a living sacrifice that our sins would be pardoned and that justice would be complete. He gave of himself to restore all things and to make all things new. He gave of himself so you and I would be healed of sickness, addiction, emotional pain, loneliness, fatherlessness, and abuse; He gave of himself so that our families would be healed, our cities would be healed, our country would be healed, our world would be healed.
By his death, he has made me new. I hold so tightly to the truth that he is making all things new—not just my spirit. I need to see it in my family, my body, my community,
He died not only to make us new, but so we would not be estranged. He died for restoration.
It was our own sin that drove him there to the Cross. Shouting before Pilate to have Jesus Christ crucified, the crowed roared: “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25 ESV).
His blood be on us and on our children.
Only the Creator of heaven and earth and truth itself could take a curse like that one and reestablish it as a blessing—one that transforms us into daughters and sons of God. I was not a part of His family, and now I am blood-related.
Only God himself can take my guilt and despair, dissolving it in the hope of the Cross, and turn it into his glory, his victory.
And Jesus, in all his might and authority, removes the heavy weight of shame and loss from our shoulders. Once a blemish to God, once a people who prodded him to the cross with our own bloodstained histories, we are now his glory—and he, our redemption.
Jesus died a criminal’s death to set criminals free. He died a death unfit for a healer, a teacher, a King. He died a lonely death so we would never be alone. He was resurrected, victorious over sin and death, so we could be restored.
From guilty in his death, to now giving him all the glory.