Behold the man! Behold our king! Jesus on the cross! Let us stand in front of our crucified Lord, and beg him to lead us into the mystery of his love. The good shepherd has laid down his life for his sheep. The grain of wheat has fallen and died, to give rise to millions and millions of grains.
Let us look at him whom we have pierced. He took our sins in his body on the tree; by his wounds we were healed. He was wounded for our transgressions. Yet, I do not say, “If you have tears to shed, prepare to shed them now.” Rather, I invite you to contemplate lovingly and thankfully the blessed and glorious suffering and death of our Lord and Saviour.
Jesus became one like us in all things except sin. He became one with the weak and suffering humanity. When Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, was condemned to death, he stood forth and gave a beautiful and impressive speech on his lofty doctrine, and with great magnanimity and grace he received the poison and drank it himself, and died the death of a Hero. The Lord Jesus did not die like a hero but like a Zero absorbing everybody to him. He sweated blood, experienced fear, felt abandoned, and cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He died the weakest, the poorest and the humblest.
We see the broken body of Jesus to the Cross, his wounds bleeding profusely. What he said at the Last Supper is now literally fulfilled: “This is my body which will be given up for you: this is my blood which will be shed for you.”
Yes, Jesus was no helpless victims. He bore our sins – mine and yours. He gave himself – for you and me. He willingly laid down his life – for you and for me.
Suetonius, the Roman historian, records as episode. A soldier was called to court by a Roman magistrate. He ran to the imperial palace, prostrated himself a the feet of Caesar and begged, “Please come to court to speak for me.” The Emperor replied, “Has it ever been heard that the Emperor has gone to court for a soldier? No! But I shall send someone for you.” The soldier tore open his shirt, showed the Emperor the scar of a large wound and said, “Your majesty, when in the battlefield the spear came flying towards you, it was I who jumped in front and received it on my chest.” Dear friends that is what Jesus has done for us. He was wounded for our transgressions. Greater love than this no man has.