Two robbers were nailed to crosses beside Jesus. One robber was put beside Jesus on the right and the other was put on the left. People walked by and said bad things to Jesus. People shook their heads and said, "You said you could destroy the temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross, if you are really the Son of God!"
— Matthew 27:38-40 NLT
It is truly hard for us to imagine the shame and indignity that crucifixion was for Jesus. The very word "crucify" was considered too crude for people with any dignity to use in conversation. It was a punishment reserved for only the worst of criminals or the scum-of-the-earth lower class criminals. Roman citizens could not be crucified. It was a curse to be crucified, or "hung on a tree," in the Jewish idiom. The Romans used it to cast fear in the hearts of the Jewish people so they would not become too independent minded. It was to humiliate them with a brutal statement made in public about what would happen to anyone who dared to challenge Roman authority.
At Jesus' crucifixion, there were two criminals on crosses. But to bring salvation, the lone innocent on a cross had to withhold his power as Son of God. If he chose to save himself, we would have lost our chance to be saved. He became our sin offering, our atoning sacrifice, the bearer of our sins.
He bore indignity, humiliation, rejection, ridicule, mockery, cruelty, and sin so we could stand before God clean, pure, holy, and without blemish. He withheld salvation for himself so he could offer it to you and me!
Almighty and compassionate Father, I know that not only did Jesus die for me, but he died for those who don't even know it yet. Please stir my passion to share that saving message with others who do not yet know the saving grace you have given me in sending Jesus and having him die for my sins. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- 1 Peter 3:18
- 1 John 2:1-2
- Colossians 1:21-23
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.