The cross was an instrument of death. That was its only purpose. It wasn’t built to be a sort of temporary infliction of pain but as a final example to those crucified and those who watched. There was extreme importance put on the example a crucifixion made. It would stand as a deterrent or warning to the onlookers from following in the criminal’s footsteps, as a symbol of humiliation as well as instill fear in them. So what example did Christ offer us on His cross? During the time of Jesus, boys were taught from an early age to memorize the scriptures. By the time they were adults they would have huge huge sections of the bible completely committed to memory. This was very handy since the scriptures were written on scrolls that most people didn’t carry along with them. There were no coffee get togethers where someone pulled out their tiny hot pink New King James Bible from their purse and talked about various chapters of the bible. No, all these guys had to do was mention a little bit of the chapter and then the people would know what chapter the Rabbi was talking about.
So back to the cross, and Christ’s example and message to us from His gruesome death. It was not for us to fear death. It was not for us to fear the Romans. It was so we could watch and see Him and by seeing Him on the cross we are able to turn with glowing faces and spread His message to the nations. Some of the last words He spoke on the cross were “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the first line to Psalm 22. The listeners standing at the cross and the other Jews that would hear these words would quickly know that He was directing them to Psalm 22. So what does it say? This chapter outlines in detail His death on the cross and they would realize His death was a prophesy fulfilled. Then once their hearts absorbed all of this then the end of this chapter would also be fulfilled “Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—FOR HE HAS DONE IT!”
Oh my goodness this puts gladness in my heart. What joy in my chest knowing that I get to proclaim His righteousness. Thank you Jesus for the cross.
Now read Psalm 22 with fresh eyes this Good Friday:
1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. 3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. 6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 7All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8“He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” 9Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. 10From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. 12Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay meb in the dust of death. 16Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have piercedc my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. 19But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. 20Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. 21Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; saved me from the horns of the wild oxen. 22I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. 23You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear youe will I fulfill my vows. 26The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn— for he has done it.