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Death by crucifixion on the cross was a means of executing judgement on the vilest of offenders throughout the Roman Empire. It was a dreadful way to die because the victim experienced excruciating pain. The Jews too understood that those who went through this kind of punishment were under God’s curse, for it is written in Deuteronomy 21:23: “… for he that is hanged is accursed of God…’’
When our Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary, it symbolized that He was under God’s curse. Though He was the only perfect human being on the face of the earth, spiritually speaking, He was guilty because He was laden with the sins of the elect in the whole world. By going to the cross, He was under God’s judgement and so the cross was an instrument of divine indignation. The gospel message that Christ endured the wrath of God for sinful mankind was, and continues to be looked upon with scorn from lots of people. It is nonsensical for them to believe that Christ paid for the sins of some people on the cross. Many want to believe that sin is a creation of man and he can get rid of it through advanced technology.
Other gospels offer signs and wonders to validate their faith but the true gospel offers us the cross of Christ as the only way through which we can have our sin problem taken away. Those who believe the true gospel are therefore saved because Christ has already endured the equivalent of them spending eternity in the lake of fire called hell. He took upon Himself our sins that we may have His righteousness and follow Him in our lives – 1 Peter 2:21-25.
We learn from the Old Testament book of Exodus 10:21-23 that God brought an unpleasant darkness in the land of Egypt for three days as a judgement on the Egyptians for their failure to release the Israelites. Applying here the principle of examining scripture in the light of other scriptural passages, we realize that the darkness which came upon the land for three hours while Christ hung on the cross, that is, from the sixth to the ninth hour, was symbolic of the judgement that Christ endured on the cross.
Though traumatic, our Lord grew up preparing for His death on the cross because He knew it was necessary to propitiate God’s wrath. This is confirmed by the words he spoke in preparation for the actual crucifixion in John 10:17… ‘’Therefore my father doth love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.’’ It was therefore, not the beatings and the nails in the palms of His hands that brought much agony to our Lord Jesus, rather, it was the fact that God the father had rejected Him as He hung on the cross and cried out: ‘’My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?’’ – Matthew 27; 46. The cross was a horrible experience for the Lord Jesus Christ because it showed that he went through hell on behalf of His chosen people in the whole wide world.