• The greatest picture of love ever displayed was when Jesus died on the cross. It was not because of His guilt, it was not the hammer, the nails, the crown, or the abuse that Jesus died, it was His love; it was the love He had for you and me. But never miss this critical part.
• He didn’t just die there for us, but literally He died in our place, for our sin. The nail, the pain, the shame of it all – should have been ours. A friend of mine wrote the song, “I Should Have Been Crucified” and that is the truth. It should have been me and you. Sin had to be paid for and Jesus did it when He had no sin of His own.
• The caveat is found in Luke 9:23 when Jesus pointedly tell us, “If anyone would come after me (which means ‘be my disciple’), let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Can anybody say, “OUCH?” In other words, you must deny self, die to self, & devote self. Today we seem to want to soften these words, Jesus does the opposite in Luke 14 when He says, “Whoever does not bear his own cross & come after me CANNOT (not may not but cannot) be my disciple.”
• (READ TEXT) Let’s take a look toward the hill called Golgotha. On this hillside that is said to be shaped like a skull we see three crosses. I bring this to our attention because all too often, we only visualize one cross, but there were indeed three.
• Crucifixion may well be one of the cruelest forms of punishment ever devised by man. While the Romans didn’t invent crucifixion they certainly raised it to an art form. If you study crucifixion, you discover that death was the ultimate outcome but not the only purpose. The inflicting of unimaginable pain & shame was the desire. For instance, the sedile (or seat) was a sharp piece of woods which the victim might rest his backside on – but would ultimately hurt like a knife in the skin of the victim’s backside. When they nailed a person to the cross, the legs were bent slightly and the arms were nailed slightly bent with the spike being driven between the radial & ulna bones around the wrist area. When he stood up on the nail the pain shot throughout the body and when you relaxed your knees to allow the pain to subside and the weight moved to the nails in the wrist – once again, the nerve endings shot throughout the arms & body. Excruciating best describes the ongoing pain for the victim.
• So now, as we face Golgotha consider these three crosses & the pain equated with a cross. Now consider Luke 14:27, “Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross & come after me cannot be my disciple.”
• As we view these crosses, I want to ask you, “What one is yours?” Our text gives us clues about each one. Let us ‘name’em & claim’em:
1. The Cross of Rebellion – As I read the text, this is the first cross I see mentioned. IN verse 39 he says, “If you are what you say you are save us.” Not surprisingly, this cross is the one who goes along with the crowd and the crowd always goes against Jesus. The people, the soldiers, and even the earthly rulers mock Jesus because they don’t get it, don’t understand.