Matthew 27: 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.36 And sitting down they watched him there.
Up Calvary’s mountain one dreadful morn walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn. Facing for sinners death on the cross that He might save them from endless loss
Blessed Redeemer, precious Redeemer; seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree. Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading, blind and unheeding, dying for me.
To watch him there. When we consider the cross our imagination can’t visualize how it really was. Matthew notes that most people just sat down and watched. Many thoughts run through our minds about why they sat down and watched. Calvary was a place of execution. Two thieves were scheduled to die. Roman and Jewish laws were strict; it didn’t take a whole lot to be put to death. Barabbas was also scheduled to die. He was one of the worst criminals there was. We look down on him, but in our natural state we are no better.
Then a change in schedule occurred. Jesus was condemned for being who he was, the Son of God. Pilate tried to put it off on Herod, but he was thrown back into his court. Pilate talked to the Sanhedrin. He was stirred from talking to Jesus, but he left it to the people. They yelled for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate signed the order and released Barabbas. The people followed the procession. The accusers followed as well as spectators. Sometimes the Romans made people go see the suffering of a crucifixion. It was their way of telling the people that if they disobeyed the laws, they would suffer too.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We all have a place at Calvary, a cross we should have hung on. Someone bore it for us. As we look at the crowd we see Simon helping Jesus bear the cross. He was made to do so by the soldiers. The Bible says he was compelled by them. We are compelled to look at Calvary today. Many may have turned their faces away that day. I wish that God could force us to look at what Jesus did for us. God help us that we never look at Calvary with coldness, indifference, or unbelief. Jesus was on the cross. God help us watch. We need to see him for who he is and what he did for us. God himself looked upon the scene that day until the sins of the world were placed on Jesus. Then he had to turn. The entire earth went dark. We’re compelled to watch and watch we must.
Many laughed and mocked. Some were there against their will. Some of his followers were there. As Mary watched her son and John and the other women beheld their Lord, they had to sit down. Even the centurion knelt down and admitted that Jesus was a righteous man. When we take a good look at Calvary, it will sit us down. You may want to shut it out and cover your ears and eyes, but this is the only course of action taken for the salvation of souls. His suffering had to be.
Imagine what all the people had seen. Jesus had stood on the hillsides and taught them. He had spoken to them from a boat just off shore. He had been in their synagogues. Things happened for the good when Jesus was around. It was good for him to be there. He wasn’t afraid to be who he was. It was fitting that he was there. He’s been there every time I’ve needed him. To look at the middle cross, his body torn and bleeding, and seeing the pain that just breathing caused is something we must see. The two thieves suffered, but the man in the middle suffered above all. He didn’t deserve it. That’s why it is so terrible to see him there. Jesus looked at the human race and saw it had to be this way. It was him or us. He made a divine choice.
We could do better by our Savior. When you behold his suffering, the sights and sounds of Calvary, we know he is the last person that should be there. We are not worthy of it. Who among us gets it right? We need Jesus every hour; he’s still here for us. He was on the cross six hours so we wouldn’t have to be there ourselves. Look at him. Watch him there. How does it affect you? When Mary saw him it sat her down. The women who followed after them got weak in the knees and had to sit down. To take a look at Jesus humbles the heart and knocks down our pride and our bigness. We have to kneel. How long has it been since a look at the cross sat you down?
Jesus hung there. They watched him. He looked at everyone and said Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. I believe a lot of his enemies had to sit down after that. Look in his eyes, see the suffering. Sit down and ask for mercy. We are loved! The only way any of us were saved was by looking at Jesus on the cross. If you’re not saved, it’s time to take a look at Calvary.
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died. My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God. All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.
Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
It’s time to come sit down at the feet of the cross and watch him there.