Old Rugged Cross

“When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.” (Luke 23:26)

The cross was used as a means of execution by the Persians and their practice was continued by Alexander the Greek. The land of the Jews first met the cross when Antiochus IV Epiphanes crucified the Jews who refused to accept his Greek culture.

The Romans, who wasted neither time nor energy, refined the crucifixion process down to its simplest form. At the spot of execution holes were dug and the long beam of the cross placed in the ground. That part of the cross was permanent as re-digging holes was time and labor intensive and so was hauling heavy beams to the top of the hill.

The cross usually had four parts and three of them were at the execution site. The three parts were the verticle beam, a small seat for the victim to rest on and a means of attaching a sign if one was needed. The fourth part of the cross was the cross beam. This part of the cross was carried on the back of the victim as he walked to the place of execution. It was carried in the same position it would be during the crucifixion and was usually secured by ropes.

Jesus was so weakened by the excessive flogging of the Roman soldiers that he could not make it to the top of the hill. John said that Jesus carried his own cross and he did for part of the way. Simon carried it the rest of the way. All who will follow him must bear a cross. Symbolically we carry our cross which is the cross of Christ, the means of our salvation.

When they got to the cross of Jesus they used nails instead of ropes. He was not tied to the cross as others were, but spikes were driven through his hands and feet. This was not done to keep him on the cross but to increase the pain he endured while on the cross. The Romans expected this agony to last for days, as long as a week perhaps and so were surprised when they found Jesus dead hours after the crucifixion began. Jesus gave his life and no one, not even the Romans could rob him of that gift to the lost of the world.

Task for Today: Check and make sure your cross is tied to your shoulders as you walk into the world tod.  Luke quotes Jesus in Luke 9:23. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

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