A few days ago, I was looking back through my thoughts from past devotional time as I worked through Romans. I happened upon a reflection based on Romans 3:21-31. I am using the Daily Quiet Time Bible. In the section Applying the Word, this question is asked: “In what ways might you feel or act differently if you more fully grasped what Jesus has done for you?” I answered this way:
Being reminded often of the sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf is important. It is stunning to consider the fact that God put forth his son to satisfy the requirements of his justice and holiness. Any consideration of Jesus sacrifice must have an impact on the way we live our lives.
My reflection is centered on God’s work for us.
God created everything. He created us not because he needed fellowship. Indeed he had perfect fellowship within himself in the Godhead. God desired different fellowship with those who loved and worshiped him and enjoyed an unbroken connection and love relationship with him. In order that we might truly love God, he had to give us the free choice to choose not to love him. In the intervening millenniums, God continues to call us back to himself.
The truth is humanity continues to pull away from God. We continue to reflect brokenness. In my experience, the brokenness around us causes many to seek answers. Many people ask, “Is this all there is?”
Indeed in Ecclesiastes 3:11b, the Preacher writes: “…he has put eternity into man’s heart…” St. Augustine wrote,
Thou has made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.
Human beings are different than any other of God’s creatures in that we long for the face of God. C. S. Lewis said,
Our Heavenly Father has provided many delightful inns for us along our journey, but he takes great care to see that we do not mistake any of them for home.
There is a longing for home. From deep within the human spirit comes a call for more than life can offer. This itch which we cannot scratch is part of God’s plan.
During this season of Lent, we are apt to spend more time than in most other parts of the year reflecting on the sacrifice of Christ. Many of us know John 3:16 where we read: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (New Living Translation). In our familiarity with this passage, we should not take it lightly. The Romans chose crucifixion because they wanted a form of execution that was slow and painful. In his book, Witness the Passion: Discover the Hope, Embrace the Power, Experience the Grace, Richard Exley does a very skilful job of describing the crucifixion from the perspective of the Roman centurion who was in charge of Jesus crucifixion. What I write here is a summary of his words.
The cross beam is fitted beneath the prisoner’s shoulders and his arms are extended along its length. Soldiers hold them in place while the executioner probes the little hollow spot just below the hand.
Once he finds it, his movements are swift and sure. He takes a five-inch, square-cut spike, places it against the wrist, and with one blow, he drives it through the hand and into the wood. Moving to the other arm, he repeats the process.
Standing to his feet, he motions for the other soldiers to lift the cross beam into place on the upright planted in the ground.
A pair of soldiers grasp each side of the timber and lift until the mortise can be fitted over the tenon, forming a cross.
Next the executioner kneels before the cross and with the aid of other soldiers, positions the prisoner’s right foot on top of the left, being careful to make sure his legs are bent at the knees. With a measured blow, he drives a third five-inch spike through both feet and into the hard wood. Due to the weight his body, and the V-shape of his arms, the victim is forced to push and lift himself up and down the cross to take a short ragged breath. Over time, the victim will become exhausted and eventually he will die of asphyxiation.
Crucifixion was the most horrendous method of execution ever devised. It was meant to maximize the pain of the victim and send a gruesome message to any who were considering defying Rome.
My friend, Jesus Christ has done this to give us right standing before God. In the comment section below, I invite you to consider the question I noted above: “In what ways might you act differently if you more fully grasped what Jesus has done for you?”