Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If Jesus were just a man, do you really think he would have submitted himself to the beatings, whippings, and other brutalities placed upon him? He had a choice. All he had to do was say, "You're right. I'm not God's son. It was just a hoax!" He might have done some jail time but would not have gone through all the misery he experienced. He must have really been convinced that he was doing the right thing, right? Either that or he was telling the truth, that he's the Son of God, God incarnate, sent to the world to deliver us from the penalty of sin, a penalty we all deserve.

Don't take this too lightly. Put yourself in his shoes: You've been making some bold statements about yourself and about God. The religious people of the time weren't too fond of that. The law wasn't too fond of it, either, since it could start riots and cause lots of people to move their patriotism away from the Caesar (that's just a title, by the way, like president or prime minister - it's not a guy's name).

Then, one of your closest friends betrays your trust and hands you over to the cops and you're arrested. You know in your heart you're innocent and doing the right thing, but it still looks like it's breaking the law. Before you know it, the masses are calling for your execution and the guy who has the power to free you is worried about votes. So he gives in to the crowd and allows you to be executed. But it's not just any execution - it's the type of execution that is reserved for the worst of the criminals. Crucifixion.

Crucifixion involved nailing a person's wrists and sometimes ankles to two beams in the shape of a cross. The nails were like railroad spikes and driven through the ankle bones and the wrist bones. Sometimes a seat was made for the person to sit on, which meant their dying would take a longer time. But if no seat, they would often lose blood to their upper body and cause pressure on the heart. They also would lose oxygen and suffocate if they couldn't push themselves up because hanging by their wrists made it where they couldn't get a breath.

Some took days to die, but according to scripture, Jesus died within 6 hours. Since the Sabbath was the next day, and no one was allowed to work on the Sabbath, the Romans were going to break Jesus legs to ensure a quicker death (so he couldn't push himself up to get a breath), but instead they poked him in the side with a spear. This was predicted by Isaiah (ch. 53) 700 years before Jesus was born. Other predictions about the crucifixion can be found in Psalm 22, 1000 years before Christ lived.

So, if Jesus were just a man, do you think he would have been able to bear all that without saying, "Wait! You got the wrong guy!" Yet, even til the end right before his death, he still gave of himself to others and shared God's forgiveness with others. In Luke 23, as he hangs on the cross, he offers grace and new life to the criminal dying next to him.

Very rarely, the Bible says, will someone die for a righteous man. Yet, all of us are not righteous. Think of some of the most sinful thoughts you've had or deeds you've done. Things you'd be ashamed for your kids to find out. Pretty ungodly stuff, isn't it? But He still came for us and took the punishment we deserve. Why? Because God loves us and wants us to have the opportunity to receive grace (his undeserved favor).

But I think another reason is so that we can share that love and grace with those who don't know much about it. So that they can see that when Jesus said he is the "way, the truth and the life" that he really meant it. And that every other option can't measure up to the awesomeness of Christ.

If you don't know what the grace of God is, or you haven't accepted that Jesus really is God's son and died so that you and God can be reconciled, ask yourself what's holding you back. Time is short and we don't know what tomorrow holds. You could die tonight and if things aren't right between you and God, it's not gonna be pretty! Today is the day, my friend.

And if you know Jesus as your Savior, then take time to share him with someone. Pray for their salvation. Show them what he's done in your life. And don't give up on them until God calls you home.

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