I thought I'd share a couple of quotes I read recently reflecting on the death of Jesus.

“Shredded flesh against unforgiving wood, iron stakes pounded through bone and wracked nerves, joints wrenched out of socked by the sheer dead weight of the body, public humiliation before the eyes of family, friends, and the world — that was death on the cross, ‘the infamous stake’ as the Romans called it, ‘the barren wood, ’ the maxima mala crux. Or as the Greeks spat it out, the stauros. No wonder no one talked about it. No wonder parents hid their children’s eyes from it. The stauros was a loathsome thing, and the one who dies on it was loathsome too, a vile criminal whose only use was to hang there as a putrid decaying warning to anyone else who might follow his example.

That is how Jesus died.”

— Greg Gilbert "The Gospel: God's Self-Substitution for Sinners" in Don't Call It a Comeback, ed. Kevin DeYoung (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2011), 72

“There is an element in the Gospel narratives that stresses that the coming of Jesus is a disturbing event of the deepest proportions. It had to be thus, for He did not come merely to add something extra to life, but to deal with our spiritual insolvency and the debt of our sin. He was not conceived in the womb of Mary for those who have done their best, but for those who know that their best is ‘like filthy rags’ (Isa. 64:6) — far from good enough — and that in their flesh there dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). He was not sent to be the source of good experiences, but to suffer the pangs of hell in order to be our Savior.”

— Sinclair B. Ferguson In Christ Alone (Orlando, Fl.: Reformation Trust, 2007), 17

“When we think of Christ dying on the cross we are shown the lengths to which God’s love goes in order to win us back to Himself. We would almost think that God loved us more than He loves His son. We cannot measure His love by any other standard. He is saying to us, ‘I love you this much.’

The cross is the heart of the gospel; it makes the gospel good news. Christ died for us; He has stood in our place before God’s judgment seat; He has borne our sins. God had done something on the cross which we could never do for ourselves. But God does something to us as well as for us through the cross. He persuades us that He loves us.”

— Sinclair Ferguson, quoted by C. J. Mahaney in Living the Cross Centered Life (Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Books, 56-57), 57

(HT: Of First Importance)