I wonder if it was emotionally difficult for the Roman soldiers 2,000 years ago to crucify someone. Perhaps some of the soldiers were totally sadistic and enjoyed their work. Perhaps some of them were neutral and just “doing their jobs.” Perhaps others were actually good people (like the centurion) and felt compassion for those suffering.
Was it difficult for the soldiers physically? If the victim was struggling, did they need five soldiers to do the work? – One for each arm or leg, and one to hammer in the spike.
Yeshua obviously didn’t struggle, as demonstrated by His yielding to the arrest in the first place. Perhaps that yielded-ness surprised the soldiers. He had prayed, “Not My will but Yours be done” (Matthew 26:39). So the issue was already settled in His mind. He accepted the unjust punishment at the hands of evil men as being controlled by the gracious hands of His Father for a greater good to the whole world.
The crucifixion is a “two-way street.” In one direction, we do nothing; Yeshua did everything for us. In the other direction, we are told to “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily” (Luke 9:23). There is a balance in these two directions: it is all grace by His cross; but that cross must be activated and worked into our own souls.
We are to be “crucified with Him” (Galatians 2:20); to “crucify the flesh” (Galatians 5:24); and to “crucify the world” to us (Galatians 6:14). How difficult is that? [Of course we are not referring in any way or any means to inflicting pain upon ourselves physically or tormenting ourselves psychologically.] Crucifying the flesh means to halt the destructive forces of pride and lust, which so deeply permeate human society and our own self-centeredness (I John 2:16). To halt pride and lust is virtually impossible. We need God’s help. The way we “put to death” evil desires is not by self-control alone; but by faith in what God did for us through Yeshua on the cross.
Like Dental Work
It could be likened to going to the dentist when you need a root canal done. I recently had a wisdom tooth removed. There was nothing to do but lie back on the chair and tell the dentist to go ahead with the work. We can’t crucify ourselves. Even Yeshua couldn’t. However, if we agree by prayer, God will provide the “soldiers” and the “nails” – other people and instruments to get the work done. Pride and lust are deeply “rooted” in us, going all the way to the sin of Adam and Eve at the tree. That’s why we need “root” canal work to get it out.
Is God bringing people or situations into your life to help you “crucify the flesh?” Are you resisting or yielding? Are we like the blaspheming thief on the cross or like the one who knew this was righteous judgment? Can we see discipline from God as an act of grace to root out pride and lust in order to bless us much more in the end? Re-read this article and then pray that Yeshua’s work for you be worked in you.