There are several tools of man's cruelty that are often remembered when we, in worship, view Calvary. However, for each act of man's cruelty, we learn something very precious concerning God's love for sinners.
The wooden cross was a cruel tool of death that was used to slowly squeeze out one's life. This form of death was first developed under King Darius, of the Medes and Persian Empire for the purpose of killing political prisoners. The practice was followed by the Greeks and then under Roman Rule, the Romans learned to add a number of additional features to the cross, to make this death the very worst that it could be by maximizing its cruelty and suffering. It is at exactly this point in history, when man had devised the worst form of public execution, that God, in His great Love, would send His Son into the world. When considering that this tool was designed by man to 'Take Life', what a contrast is seen when we consider that Christ, who hung on the cross, is the "Giver of Life'.
In the book of Numbers, we read that anyone who used tools of iron violently against another person, was always guilty of murder. Therefore, by the law, the cruel use of the nails to attach our Lord to the cross is clear evidence to the first degree murder charge of mankind, in the death of Christ. Though this is true by the standard of the law, it is equally true that no one could take His life from Him. What Love is seen by God for us in that while we were still sinners (murderers), Christ died for us.
The crown of thorns are often remembered as a demonstration of man's mockery towards Christ as King but they are also a very cruel form of pain and suffering. The long, sharp thorns, were actually beaten into our Lord's head, likely piercing through his skin right to the skull. In their cruelty, these soldiers did not have an idea of the imagery that they were actually creating. Adam was told that thorns and thistles would be brought forth as one of the consequences for sin. At Calvary, Christ, bearing the cruelty of these thorns, actually demonstrated the Love of God as the one who had come to 'Bare away' our sin in His own body on the tree.
When we worship silently or publicly on a Sunday morning, our thoughts should always be centred on Christ, as we remember Him for His sacrifice. A great way to remember His greatness, is when we consider Him in contrast with something of great significance. May these thoughts motivate us all as we prepare our thoughts this week for a new and fresh insight into His great love for us, so demonstrated at Calvary. The Poet, Edward Denny, well penned the words:
To Calvary, Lord, in spirit now,
Our weary souls repair,
To dwell upon Thy dying love,
And taste its sweetness there.
Dear suffering Lamb! Thy bleeding wounds,
With cords of love divine,
Have drawn our willing hearts to Thee,
And linked our life with Thine.