So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. (John 19:16b-17)
Read Mark 15:21-25
After Jesus had been flogged, mocked, and condemned, they took Him out on the road to Golgotha, carrying His own cross. Now the cross was probably what we would call the crosspiece only -- the patibulum. The upright vertical piece was probably already in place, fixed in the execution grounds.
The crosspiece alone would have weighed over a hundred pounds -- a heavy load for a man in good health. Jesus was already near death -- weak, dehydrated, probably in shock from the scourging and other abuse. He could not carry it. The walk was too far.
So the soldiers grabbed a bystander, Simon of Cyrene, to do the job. This was a humiliating task -- to carry a cross in a public execution parade, as if he himself were the criminal condemned to die! But Simon did it -- you don't say "no" to Roman soldiers.
And then Jesus was nailed to it, and the crosspiece hoisted into place. The Son of God, hanging suspended between heaven and earth, on display for all the world to see.
In the ancient world, this was a scene of utter shame. Romans even used "cross" and "crucify" as swear words. Even today Muslims refuse to believe that Jesus died on a cross -- that death is too shameful, they say; God would not have allowed it, not for a holy man.
But God did allow it. In fact, God ordained it. In the council of the Trinity -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- one God -- chose this death, this shameful cross. God chose our cross for Himself, our death, so He could give us in return His own life, holiness, and glory.
THE PRAYER: How can we thank You, O Lord, dear Jesus? There is no way. We love You and trust in You. Dear Father, grant that Jesus may have the full fruits of His cross -- that people everywhere may believe in Him and be saved. Amen.
What is the heaviest thing you have ever tried to lift or carry? Who helped you?
Jesus has lifted the weight of sin and shame from your shoulders. How does that make you feel now?
Why do you think God chose such a shameful death for Himself?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"