There have been few methods of execution more torturous or more excruciatingly painful than crucifixion--and the Romans mastered it.
By design, death on a cross was not quick. No vital organs were damaged, so it was a slow, agonizing demise. Soldiers would first whip the victim with a scourge and then force him to carry his own crossbeam to the execution site. Once suspended on a cross, the hours in a strained position took its toll on the individual's body, causing difficulty in breathing--and often suffocation. Some victims died of heart failure. And sometimes a person would hang alive for days, finally succumbing to death as a welcomed relief.
It wasn't until A.D. 337 that crucifixion was banned in Rome by the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great. But by then thousands had been tortured on a cross--including one named Jesus Christ. Interestingly enough, it was out of reverence for this very Jesus that Constantine outlawed this method of execution three centuries later.
When Jesus was crucified He voluntarily took the guilt of your sins and mine to the cross with Him. As death drew near, the Son of God summoned all of His human strength and said, "It is finished!"
What did that mean?--"It is finished!" It meant that there was no more need for bloodshed. Never again would innocent lambs have to be sacrificed to atone for man's sins as had been done in Old Testament times. The blood flow was finished. Our salvation had been paid for in full!
A famous preacher of yesteryear explained it in this fashion: As Jesus' blood--the blood of God--coursed down the crude Roman cross and into the sand, it was as if the sand whispered to a blade of grass, "It is finished." The blade of grass leaned toward a tree and said, "It is finished!" The tree lifted its leafy limbs heavenward and shouted to an eagle, "It is finished!" The soaring eagle rose higher and higher and screamed to the whole earth, "IT IS FINISHED!"
And so it was--finished! My sin and yours were paid for with the precious blood of Christ.
Though there were thousands of men who were crucified, only the crucifixion of the sinless Son of God was worthy to be part of God's eternal plan for man's salvation. The cross should be a constant reminder to each of us of the goodness of God in allowing His only Son to die in that manner and, especially, to die in our place. There is only one reason . . .YOU! He gave His life for YOU--and for me. So each of us is personally responsible for receiving or rejecting God's offer of cleansing from our sins.
The thing that makes Jesus' experience with crucifixion so unique and supreme is that He was taken from the cross, placed in a sealed tomb, and after three days ROSE FROM THE DEAD! He ever lives to be our Savior and Lord. Thus, God's plan for our salvation was made complete.
Although it cost Jesus everything to pay for your sins and mine, He makes it very easy for us to know Him personally and to be saved. We are the sinners; He is the sacrifice. We have the problem; He is the provider. Here is God's plan of salvation for you and me, according to the Bible.
First, admit that you are lost and need a Savior.
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." --Ecclesiastes 7:20
"All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." --Romans 3:23
Second, realize that a heavy penalty is on your sin.
"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." --Luke 13:3
"Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." --Romans 5:12
Third, acknowledge that God made a way for you to be saved.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." --John 3:16
"He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." --Philippians 2:8
Fourth, accept God's plan for your salvation . . .today!
"He [Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." --Hebrews 7:25
"But as many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." --John 1:12
Read the following prayer several times and then earnestly pray that prayer, accepting Christ personally, and God will forgive your sins and make you one of His own.
Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a guilty sinner and that I need to be saved. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay my sin debt. Please forgive my sins, come into my heart, and save my soul. I turn my life over to You. Help me to live for You from now on. Amen.
If you have received Christ as your personal Savior, welcome to the family of God! Please send your name and address to the address below, and additional literature will be sent to you to help you in your new life with Christ.