And sitting down they watched him there… Mat 27:36
This is speaking of the soldiers who had crucified Jesus on the cross. The Bible says that after they had crucified Jesus on the cross and cast lots for His garment, the Roman soldiers sat down and watched Jesus.
Probably not many of us stop to think of what was happening here. The soldiers were watching the Lord as He hung struggling on the cross. He was going through the throes of death; and death took a long time to come. The pain He went through during that time was incredible. But He bore it.
What even many don’t realize is that Jesus was obeying His Father.
In Philippians 2:8 the Bible says this about Jesus: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” This scripture is profound. In other words, it is telling us that Jesus could have decided that the pain was too much to bear, and He could have come down from that cross when the pain became too much for Him. But He persevered till the end. He obeyed God to the last.
As He hung there on the cross in the most extreme of agonies – not to mention the jeering from His enemies – Jesus was accomplishing something profound in the spiritual world. Through this prolonged suffering and ultimately, death, He was bearing the sins of the world upon Himself.
And through it all He was strong enough in the spirit to think about the men who were subjecting Him to this excruciating torment: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luk. 23:34).
We are called upon to obey God. Obeying God is not something easy. There is a price involved in obeying God. But Jesus set us an example.
These two facts – the fact that we are called upon to obey God, and the example that our Lord Jesus set for us – this is something we should remember the next time we find someone stepping on our toes and we find ourselves hard-pressed to forgive a brother or sister.
It is something we should remember the next time we are required to humble ourselves and say, “Sorry”.
It is something we should remember when we are called upon to minister to someone, probably visiting the sick in hospital or even in prison.
It is something we should remember the next time we find ourselves undergoing a little (or even much) suffering or discomfort for the Kingdom of God.
It is something we should remember the next time a situation – any situation – calls upon us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.