“… there they crucified him.”
The gospel writers used very few words to describe the actual crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew gave no description of the nails being driven through his hands and feet. Mark said nothing of the rough handling by the Roman soldiers. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was silent about how his Lord’s body sagging against the nails as the cross was dropped into place. Their words were similar to the very simple words of Luke, “there they crucified him.”
If God chose to use so few inspired words to describe the actual crucifixion, perhaps we should understand that its significance transcends the physical details of Jesus’ death. Without doubt, that Jesus died matters; but why he died is of tremendous significance. Death by crucifixion was painful and shameful, but in Jesus’ day, it was commonplace. As far as the Romans were concerned, Jesus was just another criminal who died. And yet we know, the crucifixion of Jesus was like no other.
It is not just about the blood flowing from his wounds – it is about the redemption from sin that blood purchased. His crucifixion is not just about the bruising and pain our Lord suffered – it is about the healing and peace his death provides. The crucifixion of Jesus is not just about the fact that he died – it is about the fact that he died “once for all” and that he “tasted death for every man.”
We do not look at the cross and crucifixion the same since Jesus died. The cross, which was an instrument of death, is now a symbol of life to believers. It is hard to imagine a more hopeless situation than being condemned to crucifixion by the Romans. Garments are stripped from the body as hope is ripped from the heart, as one is completely at the mercy of merciless soldiers. But now, because of Jesus, Calvary is identified with the only hope of the world. A place of shame became the place where the grace and glory of the Lord is evident. A place reserved for the punishment of wrongdoing is now the place of sins’ undoing.
And because he died, our lives have meaning – if we by the grace of God die to self and sin, find hope and purpose in Jesus, and allow the crucified Christ to live in us.