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A Roman soldier standing over Jesus yells, “Get up! You’ve got a Cross to carry!”
Jesus has just received the tremendous beating with a whip called a “cat o’ nine tails”, so named for the ripping effect it had on bare skin. In His heart Jesus now cries to His Father for strength to get up and finish this course. By a miracle he struggles to His feet and stands woozily, trying to regain His sense of balance. The soldier points commandingly to the cross prepared for Him. Jesus staggers to it, drops to one knee and—embraces the crude, wooden structure destined to bring Him to death. Straining to rise, He lifts the cross and begins to stagger in His weakness out into the street. Dragging His instrument of death, He sets His course for a hill outside of Jerusalem known as Golgotha, “the place of the skull”. The hill was so named because from a distance it bears some resemblance to the side view of a human skull. As if prophetically named, it would be the place Jesus’ head would finally hang in death.
Stumbling through the streets, Jesus is watched by a tremendous crowd that has gathered. Some of them had been at His trials all through the night. Peter and others of His followers had returned to the fringes of the crowd—hoping not to be discovered yet wanting to keep their promise to walk with Him even into death. So far that promise was unfulfilled. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus do miracles even for loved ones or close friends; they too followed—at a safe distance. Some were hoping to see Him throw off this Roman yoke, symbolized to them by the cross He now bore. Some had been in the crowd who, though they had received acts of kindness from Jesus, yielded to the pressure of their religious leaders and cried out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Though some of these were regretting their treacherous action, it was now too late. Judas had been among the ones who knew deep remorse. But remorse without repentance equals no hope. He had already moved into the realm of fiery punishment called hell, having killed himself by hanging.
In His weakened state, Jesus collapses under the load of the cross. Unable to carry it any farther, one from the crowd, a dark-skinned man, is compelled by the soldiers to shoulder His cross (Luke 23:26, No room for racial prejudice at this cross; we all are indebted to Simon for bearing the cross made necessary by the sin of each one of us). Simon drags the cross up to the top of the hill and drops it at the appointed place. Jesus has been slowly, with great effort, following behind. Finally, He too arrives at the top of the hill.
The soldiers are about their work. Three holes have been prepared into which they will sink the crosses. The other two are for two condemned criminals who are also to die on this day. And now the shameful process known as crucifixion begins. With a great struggle the two thieves resist the torturous ordeal—but all to no avail. Broken, they are, at last, nailed to their crosses. It’s amazing how the will of men, once so arrogant and violent, can be so quickly broken once they are subdued. They hurt and bleed just as other men do. What a stark reminder that, for humans, frailty is reality. Once the mask of pride is removed, we find underneath the same weak creature common to the race—the only difference being some of us weak creatures have agreed with God that we are weak and turned to Him (that’s called repentance), while others must be forced to display their weakness. How much better to choose to bow to our Creator than be forced to bow to Him. (Luke 20:18)
Don’t wait to be forced—choose to turn to Him as your personal Master and Deliverer!
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson; this has been Think About It.
(This message has been taken from our book Why God Birthed America. You can order a copy of Why God Birthed America at HERE)