We can envision our Jesus being crucified. But somehow I think we try to make it a pretty place where our Jesus gave His all between two criminals hanging side by side Jesus. But this place was anything but pretty. Our Jesus gave His life freely in a trash heap. A city dump of Jerusalem. Think of our trash dumps today. Let the smell linger in your senses. Is this any place for our Savior to be? Our Savior who lived a sweet aroma of love and grace gave His all in a trash dump for each and every one of us.
This was the place where crucifixions took place. Where sinners died for their crimes. After people were crucified they weren't taken down from the cross immediately. No, they were left there hanging in this trash dump to only be taken down and tossed into a heap where they would rot. No one would come to claim these loved ones in fear that they too would soon be laying in the heap of rotting flesh.
Why is it that we try to make this day of Christ's crucifixion something less than what it really is? Because I don't think we want to envision our Jesus in a place where He didn't belong for us. In the place where people threw out the unwanted, Jesus came to claim the wanted by giving His everything.
"Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink." Matthew 27:32-34
"And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take." Mark 15:22-24
"There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him. and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."" Luke 23:32-34
"And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put in on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." John 19:17-19
My Jesus suffered and died for my sins. Way before I was born He prepared a way for me to live life eternal. He allowed these men to bring Him to a place not fit for a King to stand, but our King of kings didn't just stand. He gave His life. His precious life given freely to intercede for me and you.
Today we can turn on the news and see babies being tossed in the trash, unwanted and unclaimed, as they were nothing. We see this and tears come. We can't understand how or why. All we think is, "I would have loved that baby? How could one not love that baby?"
When we think of Jesus suffering in agony for us what is it that our heart feels? Do we wish we could have been there? His death is something I cannot understand. If it were not for Joseph of Arimathea coming to ask for the body of our Savior would Jesus too have been tossed in a heap of bodies?
"After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus." John 19:38
Our Jesus born in a manger, no room in the inn for a King, would give His life in a trash dump and bring glory where glory was unexpected. But then again, that's our Jesus.
I can be honest and share that I never knew that Golgotha was a trash dump just outside of Jerusalem. Now that I know I will never again look at the cross the same. This great and mighty love of Jesus is a love I in no way deserve. I find myself at the cross and see my Jesus. In the moment I believed His unconditional kind of love sealed me with everlasting life.
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." Romans 1:7-14
We can see in Christ's undeniable love for us that He is willing to meet us where we are. He met us in a trash dump at the cross to give His life for ours. There is no limit to what Jesus will not do for us. He will be in our presence. He will be side by side us sinners. He will never give up on us, those in which He chose to give His life.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know." John 14:1-4