February 18
Dying on the Cross
Luke 23:13-56

KEY VERSE: And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. --Luke 23:46

Observe the different attitudes that are evident as Jesus goes to the cross to die for the sins of the world.

There is the attitude of the Pharisees and authorities who wanted Jesus killed. His enemies smugly felt they had accomplished their evil plan to get rid of Jesus. They must have felt that now he would be out of the way and they could get on with their lives without his interference.

There is the attitude of the soldiers who had to carry out the order of the court. To them Jesus was just the latest victim of this vile system which terminated the lives of common thieves by brutally hanging them on a cross. For them the crucifixion of Jesus was just another dayís work.

There is the attitude of his disciples and friends, now scattered and afraid, bewildered by the sudden ending of the life of this strange teacher who had captured their minds if not their hearts. They surely wondered how such a terrible thing could possibly be happening. They did not understand why he had to die.

There is the attitude of the crowd, the herd of people who were so easily persuaded to cry for the crucifixion of the one they had praised only a few days before. The crowd is that host of people who in every age simply follow where their lusts lead them rather than risk surrendering to the costly demands of genuine discipleship.

Then there is the attitude of Jesus who understood why he was dying, and willingly surrendered his life so that people might realize how much the Father loved the whole world. Jesus knew he was not a victim of hate. He knew that his death was necessary for men to be saved from their sins. Even as he endured the final moments of his physical agony, he knew that he was dying so that His Fatherís plan for the redemption of the world could be fulfilled.

And what then is our attitude as we ponder again his dying on the cross for our sins?