v 37. Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.
Death is the ultimate human indignity. God made humankind for fellowship with Himself, but then sin entered into the world’s experience, and the result was death. Everything flowed from disobedience as His creatures chose to live out life in their own selfish fashion. We came from dust, and to dust we return !
And that ‘WE’ is totally inclusive – death is no respecter of persons.
Stripped of our human dignity we take one final breathe, then we are gone.
Jesus experienced that last barrier up against we all come in due course.
Princes and Paupers, Professors and Peasants, we all face this ultimate indignity of human life. While we are young it seems a million miles away, an unimaginable and distant prospect, too remote to think about. In middle age, with strength and experience, we feel indestructible. ‘I’m fine thanks’.
In our later years we can enjoy our pensions and take each day as it comes. We might plan for death, buy a Funeral Plan and write our Wills, but there is no putting off this particular diary entry that God has written in.
We were born for God, and life has occupied us fully, but in this kind of undignified fashion we finally depart whatever our status in life might be.
In identifying totally with humanity – but without sharing its sin – Jesus followed exactly that pathway. I call it undignified because that is exactly how the Son of God experienced it. He was publicly humiliated and scorned by most onlookers, and deserted by most of His friends even as He died. For sure, it was utterly undignified – far more so than most of us will experience.
The most undignified thing however was that God made us for fellowship with Himself – and His Son Jesus was part of the eternal Trinity – and yet we all, Jesus included, have to pass through this gateway.
But there is a difference. Jesus chose that way – He said ‘No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded. ‘ (John 10:18)
Yes, there is way of salvation, a way of escaping the deadly consequences of sin; there is a way into the presence of God for an eternal and glorious future! It is because Jesus chose to die in our place that death has lost its sting, the God-Man who endured every human indignity for our sakes.