February 28, 2021Fairview Church
Kevin Symonette • April 10, 2020
25 and it was the third hour when they crucified him.
33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
Six hours. Six, gruesome, bloody, agonizing, afflicted hours is how long Jesus hung on a splintered, wooden cross. The crucifixion scene is the pinnacle of our faith and today, Good Friday is when we remember the death of our Lord Jesus. Can you imagine what a scene that was? Read the story of Mark 15 and simply close your eyes for 5 minutes and wrap your head around what Jesus did for us. There are certainly many aspects of this story showing the detailed account of what Jesus went through, but in this I want to focus on the actual cross.
Six hours I mentioned earlier, is how long Jesus hung on the cross. The Bible tells us that he was crucified on the third hour, which would have been about 9 a.m., the third hour of daylight roundabout is the idea, past 12 noon and onto 3 p.m. Jesus hung for. Can you imagine that? Can you envision the scene of the hill of Golgatha, filled with Roman soldiers and Jewish religious leaders shouting taunts to the king of the universe? Look into the face of the Savior battered on the cross, knowing that any moment he could end the apex of His suffering, knowing that any moment he could call down the world’s mightiest army of angels and send all of his accusers to the pit of hell and be completely justified for it. Can you see his face? No, you can’t, for it is marred beyond recognition.
Six hours, he lifted his body continuously up just to breathe in and out. We have a hard time simply standing in place for more than a few hours, imagine being tied to a pole? We have a hard time if we get a splinter in our thumb, imagine Roman nails? We have a hard time taking criticism from our daily skills and task, imagine the mockery of proudful Roman and Jewish elite? Read the account of Frank Turek describing Roman execution (https://crossexamined.org/crucifixion-like/, Paragraph 6):
The victim Jesus is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain—the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places his full weight on the nail through his feet. Again, there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet. At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed, and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs but it cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the bloodstream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. It is undoubtedly during these periods that he utters the seven short sentences that are recorded.
It reminds me of the old hymn:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
We know the end of the story, for Jesus could not stay in the grave. His love could not allow him die and to be separated from us, for we know that he rose from the grave. However, the question must be asked as to what place Good Friday should hold in our hearts? What must be our posture on this day? I ask of this today; I ask that you grieve. Not that you grieve because of your sin, as that has no longer been recorded in the vaults of heaven if you have been saved, it has long been forgotten.
I ask that you grieve for the suffering of Christ. Remember his nails, his open wounds, his heavy load and painful groans as he struggles to carry his cross. Grieve that they crucified your Lord. Grieve that he was taken away before his time, grieve that he suffered in your place. Grieve my brother and tremble before the King of Kings, lifted up not to His glorious, golden throne full of light and truth, but that he is lifted up on our most heinous torture device full of blood and tears. Can you hear Him crying my brother? Can you hear his mother screaming out of her mind as her son is torn to pieces? Can you hear his disciples run away and desert him to the vultures? Grieve that they crucified your Lord, and if you are radical enough, grieve that you crucified your Lord.
Sometimes, it causes me to tremble! Tremble! Tremble!
Wait my brother, wait until Sunday.