23-THE CROSS-The method the Romans used to execute Jesus Christ was the most painful and degrading form of capital punishment in the ancient world. The cross was also the means by which Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. It also turned out to be a symbol for the sacrifice of self in discipleship and for the death of self to the world.

Originally a cross was a pointed wooden stake used to display the heads of captured foes or of particularly heinous criminals above the gateway into a city. Crucifixion developed into a form of capital punishment, as enemies of the state were impaled on the stake itself. The Greeks and Romans at first reserved the ancient punishment only for slaves, believing it to be too barbaric for freeborn or citizens, but by the first century it was used for any enemy of the state.
As time went on, the Romans began to use crucifixion more and more as a deterrent to prevent every criminal activity, so that by Jesus' time it was a common and ordinary sight to see many criminals hanging outside the gates of the cities. According to Jewish law the offenders that were "hung on a tree," meant they were accursed of God and outside the covenant people. Such criminals were to be removed from the cross before nightfall lest they defile the land.

Though The Messiah was to die in disgrace, great honour awaited Him, resurrection and freedom He had gained for others, for as the conquering King, He shares His victory. God The Father awarded His Obedient Son and Servant because He poured out His life unto death for the sake of other's transgressions. Jesus was identified with criminals who were rejected from society.

In the Book of Psalms, King David speaks accurately of the crucifixion of Christ. At a crucifixion, bones are jolted out of joint as the body is jarred when hoisted up by ropes into position for the nailing of the feet. It was an insult to human dignity to rob His Being of everything even His own clothing in public, not many people suffer this way.

Fulfilling scripture, Jesus hung on the cross between criminals in great pain as His enemies made fun of Him. Because of Jesus' claims that He had made about Himself, His enemies increased and became more critical and sarcastic. Jesus endured verbal abuse and mockery about His faith in God The Father, while on the cross, but His faith, trust and reliance upon God was victoriously evident later when he was resurrected.

One thief, who hung on the cross next to Jesus alleged that Jesus was dying unjustly and that He had done nothing wrong and believed Jesus would come into His Kingdom. Jesus then promised the thief that he would join Jesus that day in paradise.

Jesus' cloak was of quality material and as predicted the soldiers gambled for His clothing as He hung dying.  On the cross He also endured terrible thirst, for which vinegar was offered to soothe the mouth and throat, a sponge was soaked in sour wine, put on a hyssop branch and held to His lips. He tasted it then refused it. (The hyssop was used as a sprinkling device, used in a purification ritual at The Passover Celebration, as it also was used The Night of The Passover when the Israelites were to flee Egypt.).

Jesus, mankind's Redeemer was what He had to be, perfect, without defect, without sin, for the sake of others. In contrast to His enemies intent of Christ suffering unto death, He continued to pray for them, those who attacked Him and had taken part in His crucifixion. He still had compassion for them and forgave them.

Jesus was to be God's Passover Lamb. Passover Festival was the time to announce the beginning of The promised New Covenant, as it was the commemoration of when the Israelites were delivered from the bondage of Egypt. That time was followed by the Old Covenant given at Mt. Sinai.


Under the New Covenant all could be delivered from the bondage of sin. of.

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