Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
— Hebrew 9:26
Sacrifices were a way of life for the Hebrews. They’d set fire to bulls, goats, and pigeons in ceremonial burnt offerings. Think of this like a holy BBQ. We often exclusively imagine the well-known lamb sacrifices during the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). The sacrificial system went much further than that. They also offered grain, bread, fruit, and wheat. The author of Hebrews stressed that Christ’s sacrifice overshadowed the ancient sacrifices of the Old Testament. It was the ultimate sacrifice. Therefore, any additional ceremonial sacrifice was no longer necessary.
The ultimate sacrifice of Jesus changes everything for you and me.
It’s a somber scene, but let’s remember the tragedy of Golgotha. Jesus, a carpenter by trade, was nailed onto a wooden cross. Soldiers rested their knees on his chest as they drove nails through the most sensitive parts of his body. His wrists and feet were pierced by iron nails. He was tortured. He was mocked. He was murdered.
Jesus could have stopped it, but He didn’t.
Jesus could have called down a legion of sword-wielding angels, but He didn’t. Jesus could have broken free from the cross in a single flex, but He didn’t. Jesus could have teleported to another part of the planet, but He didn’t.
Why didn’t he stop it? Why didn’t he fight?
He chose the nails, because He loves you. The cross isn’t a sign of a vengeful God. Rather, it’s a sign of a loving God who would rather sacrifice himself than see you suffer. You were on death row and He took the electric chair. You were in the line of fire and He took the bullet.
Death was just a breath away for you, but Jesus gave you life.