Jesus on the Cross
The Central Act of Jesus Ministry
As we ponder Jesus on the cross, we should understand it as the central act of Jesus ministry. Although "the good news" about Jesus includes his birth, life, teachings, and miracles, His death emerges as the linchpin, the pinnacle, and that triumph of all that Jesus accomplished.
As Jesus came proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven had arrived, he secured the victory of that kingdom over death, sin, and the devil by that act. According to 1 Corinthians 15, both death and sin were defeated resoundly by Jesus voluntary sacrifice and triumphal resurrection.
Colossians 2:15 furthers that thought by saying that Jesus disarmed and put the devil and demonic forces to shame and now leads a victory procession over them by virtue of this cross.
By it, Jesus has transferred us from the "kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light"
Predicted in the Old Testament
Isaiah 53 is one of the strongest passages in the Old Testament predicitng the future Messiah on a wooden execution stake. A gory and sad passage tells of a crushed and broken Messiah bearing the sins and sorrows of the world.
Wholistic Healing of Jesus on the Cross
Most Christians are used to looking at Jesus on the cross as a one-dimensional act of taking our sins so that we can be justified before God.
I would encourage you to look at the cross as the source of all healing that is happening now and will happen, including the day when the kingdom of Heaven is fully accomplished.
In the Isaiah 53 passage we already mentioned, Jesus on the cross is seen as not only as a payment for our sin but also a healing for our griefs, sorrows and burdens:
"Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows...
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed. " Isaiah 53:4-5
Jesus remains the the source of the healing we need for brokenness...our hurts, pain, and woundedness can be transferred for Jesus to bear in a real way that brings us peace. (Peace is in the sense of wholeness, integration, and healing, not just absence of conflict.)
Furthermore, Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 says all things will be healed in Jesus work on the cross, including creation:
"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:21-22)
"according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." (Ephesians 1:9)
So we see that the healing of the cross is for whole ecosystems, for hurts, bruises, physical healing, wounds, the healing of the word. In short, Jesus on the cross is a wholistic, healing act.
Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:43)
In characteristic manner, and consisitent with His own teaching, Jesus forgives those who cruicify Him.
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43)
Said to one of the thieves on the cross, after said thieves confession and acknowledgement of Jesus' Lordship and innocence
"Woman, behold your son: behold your mother "(John 19:26-27).
Jesus on the cross takes care of immediate, physical needs. He is no spiritual, ethereal-minded slouch.
"Eli Eli lema sabachthani?" ("My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
Jesus was forsaken on the cross, so that we would not have to be.
"I thirst" (John 19:28).
Jesus was a real, physical human man with physical needs and desires. The suffering was just as real.
"It is finished" (John 19:30).
The healing work of the world that he came to do was accomplished.
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit "(Luke 23:46).
According to Jesus own words, no man would take His life from Him. He would lay it down with the exercise of His own will, and would do it on the cross.