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And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8

Listen: Philippians 2


Our pictures of Jesus on the cross are usually a little too tranquil, modest and pretty. Artist and painter Nikolai Ge dramatically and sorrowfully captures the horror that Jesus embraced and endured on our behalf in his painting, Crucifixion. Notice how he depicts Jesus on a short cross. Imagine how easy it was for people who didn’t like you to scream and spit in your face. It is one thing to suffer. However, suffering in front of people who are mocking and dehumanizing you is another thing.

This was how Rome instilled fear and maintained control. Crucifixions sent the message that Rome would crush anyone who rebelled against the empire. Crucifixions took place along the main roads of cities to reinforce the spectacle and message. We often look at the cross and crucifixion as beautiful— but the Romans saw horror and shame.

The true beauty lies in what Christ accomplished on the cross. At our core lies a rebellious spirit that affects every aspect of our life. Rather than shame and death, Jesus defeats our rebellious, sinful spirit and all of its consequences. Jesus submits to be crushed on our behalf enacting grace, mercy and forgiveness. He willingly absorbs our punishment so we might have life.


Today, turn to page 26 in your Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure journal. Write down a prayer of gratitude. Specifically, thank Jesus for his willingness to humbly serve you by going to the cross to absorb your punishment to rescue you.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.