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Daily Reading: 3rd February 2016

John 19. 17-18 cont.

17 And carrying His own cross He went out to a place called ‘of the skull’, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.  

18 where they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side of Him, with Jesus in the middle. 

Crucifixion was regarded as the worst kind of execution. It has its roots in Persian history and was also practiced by the Carthaginians. The Greeks used it less, but the Romans used crucifixion amongst the people that they conquered, particularly slaves.

It was very rare for a Roman citizen to be crucified, since it was a dishonourable and despicable death. A Roman convicted of treason or some other terrible crime against the state might be crucified.

It is said that the Romans considered crucifixion to be a punishment showing someone’s low social status.

In the light of this we can see that there is more than a hint of irony in the inscription that Pilate had placed on the cross of Jesus. By stating: JESUS KING OF THE JEWS, Pilate was really saying: “see what I have reduced your king too”. Crucifixion was a humiliating death, yet this is what Jesus submitted Himself to.

Paul understands this when he wrote these wonderful words:

[6] Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God.

[7] He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.

[8] And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross – Philippians 2.6-8 (NLT).

Jesus, through whom everything is created, submitted Himself to the humiliating death of a criminal.

The crucifixion of Jesus was the height of mockery, ridicule, and derision.

This is what Jesus did for the entire human race. His love for those He has created is so great that He subjected Himself to be scoffed and laughed at.

Isaiah prophesied this:

He was despised and rejected, a Man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care – Isaiah 5.30 (NLT).

Let us all make sure that we daily remember with thankfulness that He endured the cross in order to save us from our sins.

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