Luke 23:26-31

“As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, “Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” Then ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?’” Luke 23:26-31

Each of the Gospel accounts speaks of the crucifixion. From the nails to the spear it was six hours. There are no words in any language that can capture the agony of those hours.

The shame of every sin that has ever been thought about, begun, completed fell like a shroud and covered Jesus. It was the only covering He had. His nakedness was exposed for every passerby to witness and scorn. He was tortured and abused during the hours before the nails sealed His hands and feet to the cross.

He was mocked, scourged, derided, ridiculed, taunted, beaten until His flesh fell like strips of ribbon around Him. When He was thirsty it might well have been the sponge from the bucket of water that was used to mop up the excrement that splattered from the bodies of crucified prisoners that was offered to Him. Every form of control was lost. Every form of humiliation was experienced. The torture was so intense that death was welcomed. But it came slowly. Suffocation, blood loss, dehydration, broken blood vessels, bruising were physical realities. But those were not the cause of His death. Jesus died from a broken heart.

There has only been one place on earth, one moment in time when God could not be found. The earth became shrouded in darkness. Jesus was completely forsaken. He cried out and the only sound in response was an empty echo. God did not hear. He had turned His back. The sin on Jesus was the veil that separated mankind from God. When Jesus took His last breath, that veil was torn from top to bottom, never to be pieced back together. The way was opened to the heart of God.

But His broken heart came not just from His aloneness but also because of our sin. Not just because He carried it but also because He knew that there would be many who would reject His agony and opt for staking their eternity on their own righteousness.

There are no words in any language that capture the agony of those hours. The only ones that even begin are the ones that spoke from His broken heart. They said, “It is finished.”

No words were ever more clear. They said, “I love you!”

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