If you're anywhere near a church in the next couple of weeks, sometime in this Easter season you'll hear a sermon or a lesson or some occasional speech describing in vivid detail how terrible the crucifixion was. You'll get a reference to the images in The Passion of the Christ. You'll get the hardware catalog rundown of all the devices of torture, all the dimensions of nails and thorns, and all the weight and force equivalents that tell you exactly how hard each weapon is swung and what impact it has on a human body. Then the terms will get scientific. You'll get the doctor's point of view that crucifixion is clinically proven to be very, very bad.
It is the preacher's one excuse for delivering a rated R sermon, and it is designed to shock, to mentally pummel, to disturb. The intent behind delivering such a message is to bludgeon us to the point of appreciation for what Jesus went through on the cross.
But if you've seen someone dying, you don't need the gore to appreciate what Jesus did. When you watch someone who takes in breath as if swallowing sand . . . you don't need any extra details. Death is awful enough in itself. It is a curse. It is humiliating. It is terrible.
And Jesus took it. He died. We have hope after death because He went through that terrible indignity and suffering. We have life because He endured death and all the other stuff that led to it.
That is humbling enough. I know, He went through the worst death imaginable. But . . . all death is bad. It's all bad. And He is so good.
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