"Just as there were many who were appalled at him---
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness---" (Isaiah 52:14, NIV).
Like most people, I have never seen a crucifixion. But I have read enough to visualize the scene as Jesus Christ was crucified.
I see a man who has been beaten nearly to death. His eyes and face are swollen and bruised from the hits. The gaping gashes repulse the onlookers. The crown of thorns leaves streams of blood flowing down his forehead into his eyes before they mix with tears.
He is sweating, yet shivering from the shock his body is enduring. He needs to double over in pain, but the nails in his hands and feet prevent any such movement from his body. He gasps for breath with every once of remaining strength. He hacks and coughs with convulsions, but manages to force out a few words of love and forgiveness.
Finally, the struggle ceases. The end of the torment has arrived.
Those who love him are in a state of disbelief. How could this have happened? Why did he allow this? Where is God? Could they not have left his clothes on at the very least? Why go to so much trouble to humiliate him? How could anyone hate Jesus so much? What's the purpose in this atrocity?
When I think about the cross of Christ, I want to remember how much Jesus endured for me. Although he looked like a victim needing to be rescued, Christ was a hero giving everything he had to rescue me. I want to remember how much pain my sins caused him, and I want it to motivate me to avoid further sins. I want to remember how much Christ loved me and his Father, and I want to duplicate such love for God and people. I want the crucifixion to be a continual catalyst for change that will honor God in my life.