I often reflect on the crucifixion during my time each day with the Lord. A couple of days ago an image played in my mind, an image that has stayed very close to me since then.
From a distance, perhaps a football field away, I saw the Lord hanging by His hands and feet. His breathing was labored. He groaned each time He pushed against His feet and adjusted His position for what measure of comfort He could find as He hung there.
As I watched the scene unfold in my mind, I remembered the Lord's statement to Peter, after Peter drew his sword in the Gethsemane Garden: "Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53).
A Roman legion comprised of 6,000 soldiers. Jesus said to Peter, "I have, right now at my disposal, 72,000 heavily armed angelic soldiers who are within moments of swooping into this garden to save me."
As I watched the Lord suffer on the cross, I suddenly saw those legions. They appeared from nowhere and surrounded Golgotha. Each angelic warrior held a glistening sword at the ready. Their muscular bodies leaned forward in anxious anticipation, waiting for their Lord and King to simply look in their direction, nod His head -- and they would have overrun the jeering onlookers in an instant.
But Jesus didn't look at the angels. Instead, I saw Him -- even though He was so far away in my mind's eye -- I saw Him as clearly as I see my own face in a mirror -- I saw Him looking at me.
Somehow, just as Satan could show Jesus, through a portal in eternity, all the kingdoms of the world "in a moment of time," in some way Jesus saw my face as he suffered on that cross.
And He saw your face.
In that moment, a truth I have always known became a little clearer to me. Those spikes did not hold Jesus to that wood. Seeing my face, seeing your face, kept Him there.
Seeing through the fabric of eternity our need for His embrace, seeing our hurts, our emptiness -- Jesus saw me and you as only He could see us.
That is what kept Him on that cross. Our faces -- the faces of His children whom He loves so very dearly . . . children He longs, even now, as I write this and you read this, even now He longs to embrace us to His chest and whisper into our ear, "I love you."
No. Spikes did not hold our king.
Seeing our faces held Him there.