Brian faced blistering winds and flying snow as he cut the twine to break the bale for the cattle. His feet slipped on the ice and he fell forward, driving the knife deep into his side.
During the 100-km ambulance ride to Edmonton Brian’s mother, Lillian, agonized in prayer over the uncertainty of her son’s life. “God, I know you gave your only Son to die for me. I’ll give you all I have. Only save my son…”
After her 12-year-old son was admitted to the hospital and stripped of his blood-soaked clothes, Lillian was allowed to see him briefly. As she walked through the door to where he lay, she gazed in shock at the naked body, deathly white from the loss of blood, his hair matted with sweat and blood, and his bloodied hands stretched out wide. His breaths came in raspy gasps as from the gash in his side blood continued to drip.
For a moment Lillian did not see her son. Instead she saw Jesus on the cross wearing a crown of thorns. By the time her thoughts returned to her son, the vision of her dying Savior had embedded itself permanently in her mind.
This picture of Jesus in his agonizing death is the scenario portrayed in the Bible by each of the gospel writers. The slow, torturous death was the cruelest form of execution devils and wicked men could devise. Stripped of all clothing, the naked body, usually protected by thick garments, was suddenly exposed to the scorching heat of the tropical sun and the mocking gaze of evil spectators. Skin soon burned and blistered. One spike through the heel bones of both feet, and one spike through the palm of each hand held the body to the cross. Washers fastened to a metal band around the wrist kept the spikes from tearing the flesh. The body sagged, making normal breathing impossible. For every agonizing breathe, Jesus had to force His body upward, his tattered back rubbing against the rough bark of the log that formed the upright of the cross. In the agony, the victims soon lost control of all bodily functions.
I cannot envision the extent of Christ’s physical suffering. In no way can our finite minds imagine the much greater torment of soul and spirit as Christ took on Himself the weight of the world’s sin and guilt.
Yet the Son of God never lost his dignity. He was never more truly the majestic King of Kings than when he hung on the cross. He died fulfilling His life’s purpose, His final cry a shout of victory: It is finished! His death paid for the sins of the whole world, His resurrection sealed His victory.
It is in remembrance of what Jesus accomplished for us by His death and resurrection that we celebrate this event that has become known as Easter.