And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Jesus was not the only man in history to be crucified. He was not even the only one crucified that day. The method of execution was not what was unique, but it was who was on that cross. No one else who died on a cross forgave his murderers. No other was called King of the Jews. No other fulfilled all of those prophecies written long before. No other went willingly. No other chose the nails and the pain and the death like Jesus did. No other gave so much in giving His life. And no other accomplished what Jesus did by dying on a cross.
A holy God came right into the midst of us sinners. He came close enough to touch us, to identify with us, and to die for us. He was surrounded by our brokenness, our imperfection, our evil, the worst in us. Yet He still loves. Yet He is merciful. Yet He seeks our benefit. He asks that we be forgiven. He was counted as a sinner in our place. He hung on a cross that should have been ours. Though He had done nothing wrong, He was treated like a common criminal, willing to give Himself for us.
It wasn’t the cross that had so much power, but it was the man on it—the God-man on it. It wasn’t the Pharisees or Pilate or even the Roman soldiers who took a life that day, but Jesus gave His willingly. It wasn’t death that was the victor, because Jesus rose from His grave and lives forevermore. What was thought to be just a brutal and cruel execution actually ushered in eternal life for all who would believe.
The truth is, Jesus came for our sakes. He came because we are sinners who cannot be made right without Him. He came because we needed Him to come and set us free. Even at His death, He found Himself in the midst of sinners, among those who needed a Savior, those He loved and was willing to die for. May we truly understand what was accomplished on that cross and recognize the power and love that abided in Christ as He gave His life that day.