All the gospels speak of this road (Matt. 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19). This road is central to our faith and reason for believing. If He had not died, just the way He died, He would not have been the Christ. This road was a common road to a common death. On that day it was used by an uncommon man for an uncommon purpose with uncommon love (John 15:13).
We can only imagine what it would’ve been like to be there on that day. Let alone to actually have suffered what Jesus suffered. Even in our heightened imaginations we couldn’t do it service. The magnitude of the injustice. His magnificent innocence and our colossal weight of sin. I wonder if He knew the voices from the crowd, those that would one day praise Him but were now slandering Him? I wonder how He did it? There was nothing miraculous about His endurance and suffrage. He received the full brunt of that trauma without any heavenly intervention. When it became obvious that He wasn’t going to make it to the place called Golgotha, Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service to bear the cross (Matt. 27:32). This was the only respite given Him—not out of any kindness but just cruel functionality. Did He scream when they drove the nails through Him? Shock would’ve dulled the pain for a moment, but it would come rushing back. Every breath was agony. Yet, He continued to teach. “Woman, behold thy son.” “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” “This day you shall be with Me in Paradise.” “I thirst.” “It is finished.” “Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit.”
Everything about that day was a lesson for us. We must fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:2-3). It teaches us how to suffer with grace. It teaches us how to love selflessly (Eph. 5:25). If you started down this road thinking that there would be no difficulties, you were misinformed. “If anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Pet. 4:16). We must be willing to travel down this road. The servant is not above the Master.
Four roads to travel down. The road of learning about Jesus. The road of obedience to Christ. The road of compassionate service. Finally, the road of self-sacrifice. When we can get to the point where we can say, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ” and understand it, then we are close (Gal.2:20).