Perspectives of the Cross
There were various perspectives of the ones who saw Jesus crucified. How could they all be seeing the same thing and yet their views be different? Let’s look briefly at some of them.
1. The Roman soldiers saw a man that they had been given the job of crucifying. They saw a Jew that was hated by his fellow countrymen, but so what? That meant nothing to them. They were indifferent to Jesus’ plight. They had a job to do, and they were experienced at putting people to death. So that’s what they did. But they also saw opportunity to profit from his death by divvying up his garments.
2. The Roman Centurion was simply given a job by his commander, Pilate. He and his men were trained to follow commands without question. So initially his attitude was the same as his men’s, indifference. But then he witnessed the scenes on the cross and was amazed by Jesus’ love for others and His forgiveness for those who hated Him. He witnessed the miraculous events that transpired immediately after Jesus breathed His last breath and the Centurion changed his mind. Mk.15:39 “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Lk.23:47 “So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, Saying, certainly this was a righteous Man!”
3. The chief priests and scribes ridiculed and slandered Jesus. Mk.15:31-32 “Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the Kind of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
4. The thieves on the other two crosses also initially ridiculed Him Matt.27:44 “Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.” They reviled Christ with the same sayings, accusations, and ridicule that the chief priests and scribes had used in the previous verse. But then one of the robbers, changed his mind about Christ after seeing Jesus pray to God “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” His new perspective recognized Christ for who He truly was, God’s son.
5. Christ’s disciples and followers: Lk.23:49; Matt.27:55 “And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,” They saw their companion, their friend, their master, their teacher. They saw Jesus who had proven to them many times that He was God’s Son!
6. Jesus’s mother, Mary: Jn.19:25 “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother…” What did she see? She saw her son, given to her by God in a miraculous birth, suffering greatly on a cross. She also saw her Savior. She remembered Simeon prophesying to her all the way back when Jesus was a little baby. Lk.2:34-35 “Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” She saw her first born, die to save her soul. As we saw some perspectives didn’t change, some did, and some were believers all along!
7. But what was God’s intent for Jesus? What did He see as Jesus hung there on the cross? Mk.9:7 First He saw His Son. “And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Second, He saw Jesus fulfill His will. Heb.10:5-10 “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me To do Your will, O God.” Previously saying, Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them (which are offered according to the law), Then He said, Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Thirdly He saw His Son become sin to take away our sin. 2 Cor.5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Mk.16:19 “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”
What God saw was His only begotten Son, completely accomplishing His Father’s will. The Father’s will being that Jesus freely offer up His innocent blood to pay the price that God demanded for mankind’s sins! This is the Jesus that we remember each Lord’s day. What is your perspective of Him?