December 30, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
A Unique Cross
“And He bearing His cross, went forth”
His cross was uniquely His. It was not that the cross was any different in shape, size, or material from the thousands that condemned men had carried out to the place of execution. Rome did not make Him a special cross or distinguish His cross from others by any markings. Nevertheless, His cross was unique.
No one had ever willingly taken up a cross and carried it to Skull hill. There was no need of the soldier’s lash to compel Him. Others had to be dragged out to die; men had to be commandeered to carry crosses for those who were being forced to traverse that lonely road from prison to the place of their execution. But there was no need for threats and abuse to make Him carry His cross. Here was the only Man Who willingly took up a cross and walked, carrying it out to the place of crucifixion.
It was His cross. It is likely that, due to human error and even injustice, other innocent men had carried a cross along the same ‘via dolorosa’ as He did. But not one of them had ‘chosen’ a cross as a means of death. Here was One Who, as God of the nations, had orchestrated all the events to bring Rome into prominence and power at this crucial stage of history. Here was the One, Who had within the eternal counsels of the Godhead, planned the means of salvation of a lost humanity. He actually had arranged the details of His death.
It was His cross. No one else could have shared with Him in that hour. How thankful, in a sense, we can be that Peter fled and did not die next to Him. Some would have claimed that Peter had shared in the work of redemption. No, He was alone. No one could have endured the entirety of divine judgment against sin as He did. No other being could willingly give his life as a sacrifice for sin.
It was His cross. Never, regardless of who it was or could have been, never was there such an incongruous sight – the King of Glory impaled on a cross! It was His cross.
1. Look at all the different Scriptures which speak of ‘the cross’ and notice how Paul especially builds doctrine upon it.
2. John’s account dispels any idea that Simon the Cyrene had to carry the cross. He was ordered by the Romans to follow the cross, expecting the Savior would falter. But John suggests that Christ did not need any help.
3. “He bearing His cross went forth …” One of the features of John’s account of the trial and crucifixion is to show Christ is in control of all the events. Look for other indications of this in John 18 and 19.