The Cross

Made of wood and nails

and roughly built to stand

a place to nail the feet

and a place to nail the hands.


No finely-sanded surfaces,

no molding work or trim,

just two rough beams of lumber

cut to do their duty grim.


No cool, secluded corner

there to suffer in some peace.

The crosses lined the busy roads

outside the city gates.


Hours and hours of burning sun

on skin already torn,

the sting of sweat in open wounds

would add to how it burned.


But first, the beatings, whippings,

so the subject would be weak.

the torture and the mocking

meant to bring them to their knees.


A bleeding, stripe-marked back,

His beard torn from it’s roots,

His brow marked, not by gold or jewels

but by a crown of thorns.


The all-powerful Son of God

reached the somber end

of what His body could endure

because He bore our sins.


The cross was laid there on the hill

and Christ was stripped down bare,

His shredded back was laid upon

the splinters without care.


The soldiers fought and cast their lots

to win His seamless robes,

perhaps the garment of a famous

prisoner could be sold.


They laughed and joked while working

binding hands to hold them firm,

while raising hammers to the sky

to drive each nail in turn.


When all was ready

with their victim firmly nailed in place

they drug the cross to where a hole was dug,

and then they braced,


They worked together raising it

to slide down in the hole.

And as it slammed down into place

His wounds were torn some more.


Their work was done.

The Son of God was hanging on display,

treated just as if He’d lived

our lives in every way.


The wrath of God was rushing

from His throne of justice high,

was heading straight for us

to judge our sin and selfish pride.


But Christ absorbed the fiery blast

while hanging on that tree.

His Father’s separation

was His greatest agony.


The nails were painful

and the mocking scorn of enemies,

but there was a greater pain

He suffered over these.


To look to His Father

whom He loved in perfect unity,

both members of the Triune Godhead,

the Holy Trinity,


where never once in times unmeasured

had there ever been

a break in fellowship,

an inter-relational split,

or any cause to be displeased.


As the Father looked down

on His Son upon that cross,

He chose to see us there instead,

our sins and all they cost.


This weight of the removal

of His Father’s fellowship,

Caused Christ to cry out

in vuln’rability and fear.


Then, the final breath

as He yielded up His life.

He took the penalty of death

for all our sin-filled lives.


This is the cross.


The cross – where Jesus put our death to death,

where He breathed in what should have been

our fleeting, final breath.


With Him, and in Him, we have been crucified,

buried, and then raised to live again,

a life that’s pure and new,

a life designed to always bring His glory into view.


When I believed by grace,

Christ and I were unified,

He in me, my hope of glory,

I in Him, my living Head.


His new life now lives through me.

A startling truth of joy and peace.


I am not mine now anymore,

It’s here I’ll daily come restore

my thinking and my heart.


We have not now been left alone

to make these truths work on our own,

His Spirit lives within,

turning us from sin,

to walk in this new life,

To walk in this reality,

to claim this new identity,

and give our all to Christ.


reflections on Christ - crucifixion


About Kevin Burrill

A Christian, a pastor, a widower, a husband, a father, a thinker, a worshipper, and a teacher - simply seeking to know my God more and more along the journey, and hoping that what I'm learning will impact others as I'm finding out His greatness. View all posts by Kevin Burrill

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