Agony on the Cross!
When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hung dying on the cross some 2000 years ago, He suffered incredible physical anguish. Besides the deep emotional and psychological pain that He experienced, which we look at in our previous blogs, Jesus’ whole physical being was torn by an outward terror that really goes beyond description. The writer of the 22nd Psalm goes into graphic detail about the experience of the Man on the middle cross. We read, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me,” (Ps.22:14 NKJV). As Jesus hung on the cross, He would’ve had a raging fever and Paul tells us in Philippians 2 that Jesus emptied Himself and made Himself of no reputation (Phil.2:5-8). Jesus poured out His soul unto death. In a state of utter exhaustion and helpless weakness, He paid the debt of all of our sins. The circumstances of being crucified had a crushing impact on the Lord Jesus. The impact of being lifted up on the cross would have resulted in all of His joints being disconnected, which He describes in this Psalm with the words “all My bones are out of joint”. If you’ve ever experienced a dislocated joint, you know how incredibly painful that is, think of Jesus’ whole body being out of joint, all at once.
The psalmist talks about His heart melting within Him. Death on the cross usually occurred through asphyxiation, as the weight of a person’s diaphragm rests on their lungs it eventually became impossible for them to breathe. We know that in Jesus’s case that pressure resulted in His heart bursting. We see this described in John’s Gospel when John writes, “Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out,” (John19:32-34 NKJV). First, it’s important to point out here that dead people don’t usually bleed. But when Jesus’ lungs were pierced, they were filled with water and blood from His heart bursting. Jesus literally died of a broken heart. That explains the blood and water pouring out as described by John. John was an eyewitness to these events, and he knew wholeheartedly that his Lord and Savior was dead. The melting of wax is also a simile of His heart bursting inside of Him. When wax melts it loses its form, just as Jesus lost His form as He died hanging on the cross.
As we approach communion this coming Sunday, it is very important that we understand the significance of the suffering of Jesus on our behalf. As we enter this most holy of seasons for us as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, how different our view should be of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. The cross should have deep meaning for each and every one of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ. Again, remember this description that we are looking at in Psalm 22 was recorded over a thousand years before these predicted events happened. God did not want His children to miss the significance of Jesus’ presence throughout the whole Old Testament, nor the significance of His plan in working out redemption for those of us who have called out to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. Because of Jesus’s suffering for us we are also reminded that He can minister to us in whatever painful circumstances and difficulties we may be going through right now. Let us rejoice in God’s great love for us as demonstrated in the amazing gift that God has made available to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the King’s Service, Pastor Rich Sivo