Even Death on a Cross

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:8

None has ever, nor will ever step from the very highest to the very lowest as did Jesus. Paul presents seven steps of descent that Jesus traveled culminating at Calvary in verses 5-8. The reader can sense the horror of that final step from Paul’s pen — “even the death of the cross.”

There were countless ways Jesus could have been killed… beheading, stoning, hanging. But He was destined, and it was prophetic His would be a specific death — “death on a cross.”

Devised by the Persians or Phoenicians, it was the Romans who perfected crucifixion. Such a horrible form of execution was reserved for the lowest of criminals, slaves, and enemies of the state. Dizziness, cramping, thirst, starvation, fatigue, exposure, high-fever, shame, excruciating pain, long-continuous torment, an unnatural position with lacerated veins and crushed tendons all with absolute agony… all taken to the final point of endurance…all intensified, but just stopping prior to the point which would offer the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. Because of its brutality Rome prohibited crucifixion for any of her citizens, no matter how egregious the crime. The Jews considered crucifixion to be a form of hanging, and because of Deut. 21:23 they could not fathom a crucified Messiah. Truly to the Jews such a demonstration was a “stumbling block” (see I Cor. 1:23).

But in the perfect plan of God, crucifixion for His Son was not only acceptable, but in fact, mandatory. Gal. 3:13 makes it clear that Christ became a curse for us, and such a curse is validated in crucifixion. Peter would later write “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by who stripes you were healed.” In the infinite wisdom of God, death and death specifically on the cross was the only way of redemption for sinful mankind. Crucifixion was bloody as were the old-covenant sacrifices which preceded as a picture. The Lamb of God was to indeed die a bloody death.

While reflecting on the plan of God for salvation in Romans, he exclaims —“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Rom. 11:33.

We must not fail to remember the truth of John 3:16-17—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Let us be thankful for the humility of Jesus!