Today's verses are John 19:17,18: "So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them." My child, I left Pilate, and was taken to the place where I was to be crucified. When John says I "went out," that means I was taken outside the city walls of Jerusalem to be executed. All executions had to take place outside the camp of city, in accordance with Jewish law (Lev. 24:14,23; Deut. 17:5). The Jewish officials did not want an unclean, dead body inside the city walls, especially right before the Sabbath was to begin.
I carried my own cross, although my friend Matthew's story about me shares how I collapsed along the way. The agony of all the preceding events, capped by the Roman scourging, was too much even for me. Remember: I am totally divine but I'm also totally human. Like you, I too have my limits. My physical body simply couldn't take any more.
When I collapsed, a man named Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service. Cyrene is a place in northern Africa. Simon's skin color was a darker hue. This was my Father in heaven's plan. He wanted the world to see how my death would include people from different nations, backgrounds and ethnicities.
I was taken to a placed called The Place of a Skull, or in the Aramaic, Golgotha. It is a place whose rock formation literally looked like the skull of a human. It was a place where executions and death regularly occurred.
I was placed between two others who were being crucified that day. Both were criminals. But this fact should remind people of the fulfillment of Psalm 22:16, a Messianic psalm, which says that "a company of evildoers encircles me" and Isaiah 53:12, another Messianic chapter which states that in my death I would be "numbered with the transgressors."
Crucifixion is the most painful death possible. The English word, "excruciating," comes from the two Latin words "ex" (from) and "crucis" (the cross). Excruciating pain is like what someone would feel "from the cross." Death would eventually come from asphyxiation. The only way the body could breathe would be to raise up on the toes, breathe, then exhale as you came down from your toes. Eventually, fatigue would not allow the body to raise up any more. The lungs would then be smothered and death come soon thereafter.
My child, I did all this for you. I did it for love. I did it so you would not have to. The cross, that you deserved, I took upon myself, something I didn't deserve. I took your sin upon me, something I didn't deserve and gave you my forgiveness, something you don't deserve.
If you could begin to understand the depth, width and height of my amazing grace for you, your life will never be the same. If you truly understood the mystery of my love at Golgotha, you'd never be the same.
If you truly believe how much I love you...
You can trust me today.