“A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: The King of the Jews. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” [Mark 15: 21-32]
As we continue talking about the story of Jesus’ life on Earth, I hope you are seeing the great pain Jesus endured because of His deep love for each of us. I don’t know about you, but I am a hopeless romantic. I absolutely love to watch a good romance movie and always end up in tears watching in some way or another the guy fights for the girl he loves by doing crazy things to win her back. Whether it be building the girl’s dream house (The Notebook), or fighting for a relationship when the other doesn’t even remember anything (The Vow), reading the story of Jesus and the great pain He went through for is is greater than any love story that could ever be written… and it happened for you and me! WE were worth it to God.
I want you to really comprehend what Jesus went through in these verses above. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was mocked, beaten, humiliated, and suffered as He was nailed to a cross to die. On both sides of Him two criminals were crucified as well, when Jesus was put to death when he did nothing wrong. The craziest part about it? He knew this would happen, and He willingly endured it all because that’s how much He loves you and me. Now put yourself in Jesus’ shoes. Would you go through what he went through for anyone? Maybe at most a close relative, but even that might be pushing it. What about for a complete stranger that doesn’t care for you and is the very reason you were suffering? No way. But that’s exactly what Jesus did. He endured pain, and humiliation for those that followed Him and for the very ones that crucified and mocked him.
Jesus could have easily saved himself, but He went through this hardship because He loves us and thought we were worth the pain. He could have killed those who humiliated Him or chosen not to deal with the suffering, but He did it because He even loved his enemies. Each of us played a significant role on the afternoon that Jesus was crucified because our sins were on the cross too. Jesus died on the cross for us, and the cost for our sins was paid by his death.That is the ultimate love story.
So we know God has a crazy amount of love for us… now receive it! The best response we can make to knowing how much God loves us is by confessing our sin and freely accepting the fact that Jesus paid for it all so we don’t have to. And then just let God shower you with his deep love for you that has no limitations. He loves you not because of what you can do for Him on your good ‘christian’ days. He loves you regardless of your past and future mistakes. There is nothing you can do that will ever separate His love for you, and there is nothing that you could do to possibly make Him love you more. He loves you, for your good and bad, the exact way you are.
The beautiful part about this love story is that it all started many years ago during this time, Christmas. In Bethlehem Jesus was born in a manger with all odds against him. I think it is so interesting that He entered the world in the way that He did. He could have made a magical, mighty appearance but instead He entered in a very lowly, simple way. I believe He did this because God wanted Jesus to live a simple life to show that he isn’t better than us where we have to strive to live up to his expectations, but that we can come to Him just as we are. So today I want to encourage you to take it all in. Enjoy this break and the time with your loved ones, and remember the real reason for this season. Because of Jesus’ birth, we were saved from death and this day is a reminder of God’s love for us.
Lord, thank You for this day. Thank you for the constant reminder of Your love for us. Thank You for paying the ultimate price on the cross for me because You love me. Help me to constantly be aware of Your love and protection for me. I love You, Lord. Amen.