The Cross to the Grave, Part II – Restrained

“Mother’s Day.” Photo by Julie Anne.

Mary, surrounded by family, stood near the cross of Jesus. If only she could rescue him, or at least ease his pain. How could it be that her son would suffer in this manner, sentenced to death by the people he came to redeem? She uttered no words. Was she mute by the horror of her son’s condition or silent in reverence of the Son of God? Did the words of Simeon, spoken shortly after she gave birth to Jesus, come to mind?

“. . . a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:35

Jesus looked at his mother as she watched his execution. He understood her pain and grief. In his third selfless act from the cross Jesus showed his love for her, his words prompting John to take Mary away from the horror of watching her son suffer and die. 

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold thy son!” Then Jesus spoke to John and bestowed the honor of caring for Mary. “. . . Behold thy mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:26-27

As Simeon had prophesied, the condition of many hearts were revealed that day, from the most evil to the most pure. Jesus revealed His heart of empathy and perfect love. Out of love for God the Father Jesus restrained his own deity and surrendered to physical death. His act of submission vanquished the power of sin over humanity, and secured a way for all those who believe in His death and resurrection to be reconciled with the Father. 

“. . . God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their sins unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19

NEXT: The Cross to the Grave, Part III – Forsaken

The Cross to the Grave, Part I – Forgiven

In His first few hours on earth Jesus rested in a manger. In His last few He agonized on a cross. From humble birth to humiliating death. His birth was private and His arrival met with awe and wonder by a chosen few. The angels and the shepherds praised God for the Savior, Christ the Lord. His death by crucifixion was public and His execution at Calvary met with ridicule and scorn by many people whom Jesus came to save.

“He came to His own {people} and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11

How did Jesus respond? He SPOKE.

First, to God the Father: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34a
Jesus asked forgiveness for the Roman soldiers who where carrying out His death sentence. Hours later they recognized Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47).

Next, Jesus spoke to a criminal who was being crucified next to him. While suffering excruciating pain, this man asked Jesus to remember him. He recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and the one who could grant him entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus assured him: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

Neither the soldiers or the thief asked for forgiveness but Jesus offered it, a gift none of them deserved. For the soldiers it meant forgiveness for their actions (sins) against God. For the thief it meant a new sentence after his death; his eternal spirit would be with Jesus.

These two events point us to reconciliation with God through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

First, if we want to be reconciled to God in this life and thereby live out eternity as a child of God, we need God to heal our inherent sin nature and also forgive our sinful actions, even if we are not aware of our need or fully aware of our sins.

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Second, understand that reconciliation is a gift God offers to everyone, but not all choose to receive the gift.

“Being justified freely {as a gift} by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God displayed publicly as a propitiatory sacrifice in His blood through faith.” Romans 3:24-25a

How can you receive the gift? BELIEVE! Put your faith in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved: i.e., justified before God and redeemed in a way that grants you the blessings of adoption into the family of God.

NEXT: The Cross to the Grave, Part II