“[Christ Jesus] became obedient to death—even death on a cross.”
Even Death on a Cross
Even death on a cross: That’s all that the Apostle Paul had to say as the Holy Spirit moved him to write this letter to the Christian congregation in the town of Philippi. Philippi, you see, had a sizeable number of retired Roman soldiers and their families living there. No one had to explain to them what death on a cross meant.
And yet the understated power of Paul’s reference was unmistakable. For Paul’s readers, death on a cross was more than enough to trigger in their minds the sights and sounds and smells of one of the worst forms of execution mankind has ever invented. Crucifixion meant a slow death with the maximum of pain and suffering on every level imaginable. Our English word excruciating comes from the Latin word for crucify.
With just a few words Paul had made his point: As our Savior, Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience on our behalf. In the life he lived as our substitute, Jesus never faltered. He never failed. For the sake of living the perfect life we could not live, Jesus was obedient to the very end. Even when the end was death on a cross.
But, of course, the cross was not the end. Jesus came back to life. He’d purchased our forgiveness by his suffering and death. And by faith in him now, eternal life is ours.
Lord Jesus, you went to the cross in my place to take my every sin away. You love me. For that I love you. And I thank you. Amen.