March 20, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Today’s blog deals with the second of eight Questions Concerning The Cross – What Held Jesus On The Cross? One of the most obvious answers would be the nails. In 1968 an ancient first century tomb was discovered northeast of Jerusalem. Eight ossuaries were found in this tomb containing the bones of 17 individuals. An ossuary is a burial box for bones after the flesh has decomposed – about a year after death. The ossuary of one man was inscribed with his name, Yehohanan, the son of Hagakol. He was about 28 when he died – the result of crucifixion! And his remains are the only ones of a crucified individual discovered to date. His heel bones were found to be nailed together with a seven inch iron nail, bent into a severe curl at its end. A small chunk of olive wood was still clinging to the curled nail. Apparently, the man’s legs were bent sharply and forced to his left, and a nail driven through both feet into the cross upon which he died. But the nail was driven into a large hard knot and the tip bent as it was pounded in. The nail was then so difficult to extract when the body was removed from the cross that the feet had to be amputated! When the feet were finally retrieved, part of the olive wood cross came with it! You can read the article in Biblical Archeological Review and reproduced online at www. biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/crucifixion/a-tomb-in-jerusalem-reveals-the-history-of-crucifixion-and-roman-crucifixion-methods/
But we have to keep in mind the power at Jesus’ disposal! Just before being taken into custody by “…a great multitude with swords and clubs…[sent from] the chief priests and elders of the people…” (Matthew 27:47), Jesus stated, “…do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Seventy-two thousand plus angels! (A Roman legion at full strength consisted of 6,000 soldiers). If, as recorded in II Kings 19:35, one angel in one night killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who were besieging Jerusalem, what could “…more than twelve legions of angels…” accomplish?! Surely, they could have delivered Jesus Christ from His tormentors and from His death upon Calvary’s cross!
Further, consider the power of Jesus’ word and touch. Multiple times in scripture the Lord touched people with all sorts of diseases, and they were healed (see Matthew 8:1-14 and many other scriptures). In Matthew 8:8 “The centurion…said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.’ ” The Lord did, and he was! It is recorded in Genesis 1:3, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” And in Colossians 1:16 and 17 Paul writes:
For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and
that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or
principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God (see John 1:1, 14). So it was Jesus who spoke the words, “Let there be light….” According to the Colossians scripture above, the word of the Son of God brought all creation into existence, and it continues to sustain all creation. His word is that powerful!
Could not Jesus have simply spoken the word and the nails would have flown out of His hands and feet, He would have been totally healed, and would no longer be hanging on the cross? He also could have annihilated the Roman soldiers and the opposing Jews with just a spoken command!
No, the nails did not hold Jesus on the cross!
But what held Him there? The answer is in Hebrews 12:2:
…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy
that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has
set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So it was joy that held Him there! What was the object of such joy that could hold the Savior through such torture? That joy was you and me – made clean by His blood, reconciled to the Father through the sacrifice of the Son suffering and dying in our place, and paying totally for our sins! Jesus looked ahead and saw many sinful human beings cleansed and brought back into a close and loving relationship with the Triune God through Himself and what He did on the cross.
May this idea of What Held Jesus On The Cross? give you a new appreciation of how much God loves you!