Three Hours before and after the Cross
There are quite a number of intellectuals in the society, and there is no shortage of people with noble ideals. They are not afraid of difficulties, and are even willing to pay the price of their lives to achieve their idealism. They live to fulfill their ideals; they die to testify their ideals. Some dear friends regarded Jesus as merely a religious reformer who has high moral value, persecuted by the Jews to death for His persistent belief. But what has the Bible to say about His death?
In the Book of Acts in the Bible, Peter, referring to the Lord Jesus, said to the Jews, “You through the hand of lawless men, nailed to a cross and killed” (Acts 2:23). Surely, it says that the Jews put Jesus on the cross. But is this all that there is concerning the death of Jesus?
Before the Lord Jesus went to the cross, He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.” If the cross was just something done by man, then the prayer of the Lord Jesus would seem to be too weak. Jesus said, “No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” If Jesus did not lay His life down willingly, no man can do anything to Him.
We need to understand this very crucial matter: The cross has both the aspects of men and of God.
The Old Testament did mention, “But He was wounded because of our transgressions; He was crushed because of our iniquities; the chastening for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we have been healed.” It also said, “And Jehovah has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” The cross is not only man’s doing, more so, the cross is Jehovah God’s doing.
In the New Testament, we further see Jesus suffering for six hours on the cross. during the first three hours, He was obeying God’s will when He was being persecuted by men. In the latter three hours, He was accomplishing redemption for us by being judged by God. During this time, God reckoned our sins upon Him and made Him suffered on our behalf.
At that most crucial moment, God was supposed to be with Him, but why did God forsake Him?
Jesus said on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Why was the Son of God forsaken by God? Men wanted to harm Him, men wanted to kill Him; it was supposed to be the right time for God to show Him His presence. That was the most crucial time, God should be present with Him. But why would God leave Him instead? There is no other reason, it is because right there and then God’s Son became sin on order to accept the judgment for us. God had forsaken Christ on the cross because He took the position of the sinners, bearing our sins, and even becoming sin on behalf of us.
What a wonderful salvation! May we know the preciousness of the cross. May we enjoy and appreciate Christ for everything He accomplished for us.