At Easter each year, many people remember an event of such profound magnitude that the course of all human life was altered. A man stepped out of obscurity and began to love people in a manner that no person had ever witnessed before. He opened the eyes of the blind, enabled the disabled to walk, healed the sick and even raised people from the dead. He was gentle and compassionate to the repentant, strong and insistent to the proud. To those who were searching, He provided answers. To the Lost, He imparted a new life.
Place yourself now in Nazareth. You are standing beside the road across the way from where Mary and Joseph live. A toddler is wobbling back and forth as he takes his first steps. He stumbles and falls to the ground. His mother runs to his side and picks him up, dusting off the dirt and comforting Him. Suddenly, you realize—this is the Son of God, the One who made all things that exist. He has not always been a human being. He has never previously existed as a tiny boy. He was, and always shall be: the King of the Universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
Jesus walked the halls of heaven for eternity, now He must learn to walk. He has spoken the universe into existence, now He must learn to speak. He lived in glory and perfection, now He must endure every human difficulty.
There has never been another like Jesus of Nazareth. His entrance into the world, His suffering and death, His resurrection from the grave, are the most important events in all of history.
Before the cross, before the resurrection, Jesus suffered unimaginable anguish and torture. It was not the physical brutality of crucifixion which vexed Jesus the most. There was a depth of suffering that no mere human has any knowledge of. As the eternal God who is perfect in every way, Jesus had never known sin personally. The stain of imperfection had never touched God, nor could it. Only when Jesus volunteered to become our sins, could this plague overtaken Him.
At the cross, the weight of the world’s evil was emptied into Jesus. Every vile and filthy deed of men. All the horrendous acts of violence and hatred. Every greedy and lustful action, murder, and theft. All sins—for all time, Jesus encompassed them all.
God wanted us to understand the emotions of those final hours that His Son experienced. He desired that we might comprehend the depth of emotional torture and abandonment that Jesus felt as He went to the cross for us. The depth of sorrow that Jesus encountered was magnified greatly as He is forsaken by the very men who had pledged their hearts and lives to Him. When the Lord needed His friends the most, they were not there to comfort Him. Immediately, after Jesus was arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane, all of the disciples abandoned Him in fear that they would also be arrested and crucified. Hidden away behind locked doors, the men who had walked with Jesus for more than three years, were nowhere to be found.
As Jesus observed us, His heart was moved with compassion. He saw us in the true state of our desperation, and He was compelled to act. He would come to earth and die for our sins, so that they would be no more, and our estrangement from God would come to an end. As Jesus walked amongst us, He watched our suffering because of sin. He longed to remove it and looked earnestly towards the day when He would hang on the cross and bear all of our shame. When that day arrived, it was both wonderful and wicked. Our sins would be removed, but at a cost to the Son of God—at the hands of evil men, that cannot be fully understood by any of us. Jesus was made sin for us. Could we fathom what this means? The perfect Son of God was covered with the filth of human sin, bathed in the stench of our wickedness; and He took it all.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.