Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha . There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews . Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did. Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.
The entire culmination of Jesus’ 33-years on Earth was this moment. It seems pretty anti-climactic. Thousands of years of waiting for the Savior and now He dies? We may be tempted to think that maybe He was only a man and our hope for a Savior was just wishful thinking, but what Jesus did that day on Golgotha was all a part of God’s plan. 1 Peter 3:18 (NIV) says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” Hebrews 12:2 (NLT) says “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” Reflect on how Jesus chose death on the cross for you.
What we need most in this life is forgiveness. All of us were far away from God in our selfishness, greed, hatred, and lust. Our sins separated us from Him in His perfection. But God’s love for us was so strong that He was willing to sacrifice Himself in our place. He took the punishment we deserve so that we could be close again. That’s what Jesus really did when He died. Your hope is that no matter what you’ve done, how bad it seems, or how long you’ve strayed, Jesus has taken away your sins and made you clean.
Jesus, thank you for taking the punishment that I deserved and giving me complete forgiveness. Thank you that the waiting is over, and Hope has come!
Think about how you can use the things you got for Christmas to bless others. Make a list.