For many, the cross is a symbol of hope, sacrificial love, and freedom. These views are completely valid in light of the price that Jesus had to pay.

Yet through the eyes of those who resided in Roman-occupied territory, it was a symbol of shame, suffering, and of slow death. Crucifixion was a method used for capital punishment which had been perfected by the Romans. To those sentenced to crucifixion, it was a death that carried exposure to the elements as well as profound shame.

Jesus knew what he was facing as he prayed in the garden through blood-sweating agony. Yes, He pleaded with His Heavenly Father but He also knew that the Father's plan served a greater purpose. Jesus saw beyond the death sentence and public shaming and knew that His sacrifice would offer eternal hope as a direct result of His unfathomable love.

Any person would have understood if Jesus wanted to abandon the plan to save humanity. We do not deserve it, but God's grace states that we are worth it: "Father, not my will but Your will be done." Jesus' obedient act of love spared us. Three days later, even death could not stop Him. Death was merely the beginning of the story. The cross, which had always been a symbol of shame and suffering, became a symbol for hope, love, and restoration.

Dear Lord, thank you for what you've done for me. Thank you for loving me that much and for including me in your plan. Do not ever let me take the cross for granted. Amen.

Go Deeper ― We often wonder, "Why am I going through this trial, God?" Write down the words “God knows and cares” and put the notice where you can see it daily. Let those two words bring you peace and comfort in knowing that you are not alone and He has a plan.

Learn more about how God uses seasons of trial we go through.

Tags: Endurance Luke 22