Easily visible from the crowded streets, He saw it every time He walked by. The wind blew and He smelled it in the air. He heard the rumors. He knew the names. The Romans had perfected this heinous sentence of “arbori suspendere” (hanging) on the “arbor infelix” (ominous/ unfortunate tree). This was the ritual for disgraced slaves, soldiers, rebels, and foreigners. He heard the rumors about the crime and saw the consequence of their punishment.
The crushed, lifeless bodies hung there for days. Their withering bodies testified of the poor decisions they made. The consequences of their actions were on display.
Seeing the bodies was hard, but even harder was the grim reminder of the future He would soon experience. Nobody knew. Nobody understood. Nobody could. The pain, the grief, the thoughts consumed Him at night. The time was close. Judgment day was nearing.
This was His destiny. He left His throne to come and pay for crimes He didn’t commit. To suffer for sins, He didn’t do. He was here to carry the burdens of those who despised Him, those who loved Him, and those who didn’t know Him. Soon, like those criminals on the crosses, He would be on display for all to see. He feared the coming pain. He was terrified of the cross, but He knew this is why He was here.
Jesus came to clean up our mess. To bring us healing, peace, and joy. He came to save us from ourselves and from our sins. He came, so that we have the opportunity to choose to be with Him in eternity. He came for you and for me. When He hung on that cross, Jesus was suffering so that you and I could be free today and forever. So, as another Easter nears, remember that this date is not just another ritual. It is not just another day or another family tradition of religious origin. Easter, the Passover, is about one man, the Son of God, willingly giving up his life so that we may live. This is love, because “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).