Apostle Barbara Childress

On the cross

Roger Ellsworth

The long approach of Jesus to the cross came to an end when rough-hewn Roman soldiers pounded the nails into his hands and feet and hoisted the cross into the air.

Now began the most important hours in all of human history.  During those hours the Son carried out what he and the Father had planned before the world began.  During that time the Lord Jesus fully satisfied the Father's wrath against those whom the Father had given him and purchased a perfect redemption for all those who believe.

Before they nailed him to the cross, the Roman soldiers offered Jesus gall to drink (Matthew 27:34).  This was intended to deaden the pain of the sufferer, but Jesus refused it.  He would not allow anything to muddle his thinking or insulate him from the suffering of the cross.  His work there required him to be in full possession of his senses.  Frederick S. Leahy notes, 'Adam had disobeyed knowingly, with all his senses clear.  The "last Adam" must obey willingly and with a clear mind.'

The cup that he would drink from was the one the Father had given him to drink, the cup of wrath against the sinners for whom he was dying.  Jesus was still affirming the cross even as it lay there beside him.  And he continued to affirm it as he hung there in agony and blood.  The so-called 'seven words' he spoke while on the cross prove indisputably his affirmation of the cross.  They take us to the heart of his suffering there.  They are not just the random babblings of a tortured, disoriented sufferer.  Instead these words must be understood in terms of Jesus' conscious and deliberate fulfilment of the role that was assigned to him in eternity - the role of mediator, or surety, for his people.

Go back to that eternal council for a moment.  What possessed the Son to agree to serve as the surety for those whom the Father was giving him?  Two truths shine out through the mistiness of that council: submission to the  Father and love for the people.  We see both of those reflected in his words on the cross.

Think again about that eternal council.  What was necessary in order for the Son of God to perform the work of redemption?  He had to take our humanity and in that humanity bear the penalty of our sin, the penalty of being forsaken by God.  His dying words reflect his humanity and his sense that God had forsaken him.

As we look at the seven words Jesus spoke from the cross we will see that they all fit into his mediatorial work in one way or another.  They are obviously part of the whole fabric of redemption.



JOURNEY TO THE CROSS, by Roger Ellsworth, Copyright 1997, EVANGELICAL PRESS.





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