by Nan Jones @NanJonesAuthor
The sun began its descent as the shadows of the cross stretched across those who watched. To hasten death, soldiers swung iron rods against the legs of those being crucified, shattering bones that could no longer support a body pushing up against the cross to breathe. With stench of breath, and flinging sweat, the soldiers pummeled the legs of those hanging beside Jesus.
But Jesus had already died. With His exclamation of, “It is finished,” He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. He would remain whole – His legs would not be broken, fulfilling the Old Testament ordinances surrounding the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:46) and prophetic words from Psalm 34:20.
Perhaps in frustration, perhaps to further mock the King of the Jews, one of the soldiers drew his sword and thrust it into Jesus’ side. I’ve always pictured this penetrating blow being down around Jesus’ waist, but Easter Sunday my preacher said something that grabbed my attention. He said to picture Jesus on the Cross, elevated above the earth. Because of the height, the sword would be thrust upward into Jesus’ body, not from a level angle. Preacher Johnny said, “I believe the sword went through His rib cage and pierced His heart.”
And even though we have no way of actually knowing where the sword did its deed, what an incredible thought! His heart was pierced as the soldier made sure it was finished. His heart was pierced. For you. For me.
I think of the magnificent love the Father has for each of us. Our humanness cannot fathom its depth. I think of Him weeping as His son bled upon the cross. I think of His grief as our sin separated our Father God from His Son. And then to remember that Jesus did this willingly.
He could have called down legions of angels to free Him.
But He didn’t.
He could have smote the soldiers with just one word as they nailed Him to the cross.
But He didn’t.
He chose, instead, to complete the sacrificial work of Redemption.
He chose the cross.
And in that moment of history, Jesus’ heart was pierced because of His love.
A Tweetable to Encourage Others
Where is God when I feel separated from Him? @NanJonesAuthor offers a glimpse. (click to tweet)