A Journey Through Grief: 4
Did you know that people who were crucified likely died of suffocation? Dehydration, shock from the maiming that took place before being either hung or nailed to the cross, and cardiac arrest were also likely to happen (Retief). However, a person couldn’t get enough oxygen to survive, and if everything that prefaced their death didn’t kill them, they suffocated. It took up to three days for this to happen (Retief). Can you even imagine gasping for air for up to three entire days? It was tortuous, but that was what the Roman Empire wanted. It made an example out of individuals who threatened the empire. It sent the message, “Don’t rise against us, or this will be you.” Jesus was a threat to the Roman Empire because of the Kingdom message He brought. Roman soldiers didn’t invent crucifixion, but they sure did perfect it. Did you know that Roman guards couldn’t leave until they confirmed that their victim was dead? How did they do this? They would fracture a major bone, puncture the person’s heart, offer sharp blows to the victim’s chest, or even burn a fire at the base of the cross to ensure suffocation (Retief). It was brutal. We see some of this played out in movies like The Passion, but have you looked into it? When I think about it, I am completely blown away. It and the science behind it takes nailed to a cross to a whole new level.
Did you know that when Jesus was taken into custody from Roman guards, he had to physically lay down on the cross? Did you know Jesus predicted this would happen before it did? He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). And then, He did just that. He knew the torture that was coming, and He asked God to take it from Him. BUT, He immediately followed with if You can’t, that’s fine, Your will be done, not Mine (Luke 22:42).
Why did this have to happen? Well God walked with man (and woman) in the Garden of Eden, until man (and woman) ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). This sparked the fall of man and brought us here. Because of this, death on earth is now a thing, illness, cancer, loss, deception, infidelity, lust, gluttony, sadness, depression, anxiety, worry, gossip, hurtful actions, feelings of inadequacy and unworth, anger, rage, abuse, rape, human trafficking, substance abuse - all things evil exist because of this. God didn’t create these things. We did. Why? Because our hearts are wicked and evil (Jeremiah 7:24).
God tried to handle things with a reset button, through flooding the Earth while sparing Noah and his family. However, it wasn’t long before those evil trends that still lurk within our own hearts, lives, and society started revealing themselves again. If heaven gave out tickets, we couldn’t earn one. Why? Because we all harbor evil, even if we don’t admit it to others or ourselves. So God had to kill the law. It was useless for what it was intended to do. Jesus’ death was the only way that we could freely and truly stay in relationship with Him. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He did this because of His grief for us. Grief is not a new concept to God. He grieved the fall of man over and over again as His people failed to live up to the law. He grieves the fall of man over and over again every time we step out of Love, out of Hope, out of Him. Yet, we have a choice: follow God or follow darkness. What I know of humankind, we sure do love darkness, especially when it’s sugar coated. Let YOUR light shine boldly. Let YOUR truth speak. That’s all good and fine, for now. But we are missing the boat here. We are missing that a man walked the Earth and laid His life down on a cross for us. That’s Truth. That’s Love. That’s pursuit. That’s desire for communion. Let that sink in for a second, and then say, “God desires communion with me.” The definition of communion is the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings. He wants to share and exchange intimate thoughts and feelings with you and with me. He knows grief. Whatever we’re grieving, He knows the feeling. He knows the emotional roller coaster we’re riding, and yet He wants to share and exchange intimate thoughts and feelings with us. That is powerful to me. That is Light I want in my life. That is Love I need to be fulfilled. That is Peace I want to saturate my whole self in. That is where I want to put my hope, because that is Hope. That is You see me, yet You still desire me. You know my sin, yet You still love me. Why? Because God is Love (1 John 4:8). This is Love.
If you have questions about how to pursue this kind of love, please reach out. I would be delighted to introduce you to my God, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Retief, F P, and L Cilliers. “The history and pathology of crucifixion.” South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde vol. 93,12 (2003): 938-41.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "crucifixion". Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 Oct. 2018, https://www.britannica.com/.../crucifixion-capital.... Accessed 24 May 2022.