Thankful for the Cross

As we approach the Christmas season, there are many who will celebrate the birth of Jesus. While I don’t agree Jesus was born in December, I do know He was born and that’s a reason to be thankful. I remain thankful for the cross. I’m more grateful Jesus died than that He was born. Stay with me for a second.

Thankful for the Cross
Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

When Jesus Chose the Cross

Imagine that the Messiah was born – He fulfilled all the prophecies about His birth. He lived His life and fulfilled all the prophecies of Isaiah and the Old Testament seers. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and gave sight to the blind. He taught and exemplified the love of God the Father for His children. Fast-forward three and a half years to the Garden of Gethsemane –

He knew His death was imminent and so He prayed. But instead of saying “Not my will Lord but thine be done.” He said, “Not my will Lord, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to die.” The entire plan of salvation would have come to a screeching halt in an instant. If Jesus had not died of His own free will, you and I would have been lost forever.

Celebrate His Willpower

So, I’m thankful for Jesus’ willpower. I’m thankful that though He was, at that moment, human as we are, He did not give in to the flesh. He didn’t step back from the pain, torture, and humiliation which lay ahead. Instead, He leaned into it because He loved us.

I’m grateful Jesus did not call on the legions of angels who stood ready to do His bidding. I’m glad He did not ask them to take Him away from Jerusalem.

 

I'm thankful God, the Father--who is all-powerful--restrained Himself from saving His son from the cross. #thankfulforthecross #whatareyouthankfulfor #hebrews12endurance Click To Tweet

I’m awed because God the Father, who knew the pain His Son would face at Golgotha, allowed Him to go to Jerusalem. As a parent, I know how difficult it is to watch my child take a path that I know leads to difficulty, so I’m happy God did not throw Himself in the path between Jesus and His persecutors.

I’m thankful God the Father – who is all-powerful – restrained Himself from saving His Son from crucifixion.

 

Bible Verses that Remind Us to be Thankful for the Cross

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV).

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV).

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8 ESV).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23 ESV).

And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:20 ESV).

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24 ESV).

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 ESV).

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2 ESV).

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin )Romans 6:6 ESV).

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17 ESV).

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Romans 6:8 ESV).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14 ESV).

Thankful for His Death on a Cross

Death by crucifixion was one of the most heinous ways to die in the ancient world. Before a person was crucified they would first be scourged. The person was whipped with a flagellum – a handle, to which several cords or leather thongs were affixed.

The cords were weighted with jagged pieces of bone or metal, to make each blow more painful and effective. In his weakened condition, the condemned would then have to walk with his cross to the site of his execution.

As they nailed Him to the cross, his bloody, torn back would press into the base of the cross. Can you imagine the pain? He would be trying to balance His weight on a pole while bearing the pain of nails driven through His hands and feet.

Related article: How Did Crucifixion Kill? (The Guardian)

Why did God allow His Son to go through that? Why did Jesus willingly subject Himself to the agony of a crucifixion? It’s because He loved us.

We only have an inkling of an idea of what death on a cross feels like. Movies, paintings, and people who get “crucified” once a year, portray a “clean” version of death on a cross. They attempt to belittle the sacrifice of a Savior who died for our sins.

 

 

The naysayers claim it couldn’t have happened the way the Bible says it did. The scoffers claim four hours was much too short for someone to die by crucifixion. How long could they have lasted on a cross with their flesh torn to pieces and bearing the sin and shame of the whole world?

I believe the biblical account of Jesus’ crucifixion is real. I know the person on the cross should have been me-

So I worship the God who loved me so much He would die for me. I’m thankful Immanuel was born and became “God with us”, but I’m oh, so much more grateful for His death on a cross.

Other posts on thankfulness:

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