“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:5-8
Let me paint a picture for you, one of Jesus’ death.
Jesus recurved thirty nine strokes on His perfect back from the flagellum—“… a whip with several (at least three) thongs or strands, each perhaps as much as three feet long, and the strands were weighted with lead balls or pieces of bone. This instrument was designed to lacerate. The weighed thongs struck the skin so violently that it broke open” (Truth Magazine). Forty strokes was considered lethal. They ripped His perfect flesh to the bone before He even made it to the Cross.
More brutally still, this perfect Jesus carried His cross uphill, on His perfectly lacerated back, splinters and all, digging into the flesh.
Four long spikes were jammed in between the bones of His feet and toes. Imagine that happening to you—your toes and fingers probably curl at the thought. But that’s not all. On a Roman crucifix, it’s very difficult to breathe. In fact, you have to lift yourself up to breathe deeply enough to stay alive. In order to do so, you have to push against the nails in your feet and in your hands to lift your entire body weight with each breath. Furthermore, in Jesus’ case, naked, humiliated on the cross, He had to raise Himself against the splintered bark of the Tree, against His near-lethal lacerations. The aging of each breath would have been unbearable.
Brace for impact: The things that Paul says we need to throw away in verses five and eight are the very things that put Jesus on that cross. That pure act of selflessness where God put the burdens of each and every sinner—including you—onto the back of Jesus, and turned His face from His loving son… THAT loving God and the Son who lovingly and willingly did it for you did so to save YOU. The Godhead loves you that much that God created you, Jesus died brutally for you, and the Holy Spirit comes knocking, looking for someone to be saved and to create a connection back to that God.
So let me charge you with this—how do you respond to that? Can you keep living in your old ways after hearing that? I certainly can’t.
What steps are you gonna take to remember that Ad Imaginem Crucis—The Image of the Cross?