'So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha' (John 19:17)
Where were those who had followed him? Where were his disciples? Surely one of them would come to his aid and help him bear his cross. But no, for the Scriptures had stated long before, 'Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered' (Zech. 13:17).
No disciples to aid him. No angel to strengthen him as there had been in the garden. At Bethlehem, when the Saviour was born, the night was changed to day as the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds. On Golgotha the day gave way to night as Christ sank deeper and deeper into the abyss of damnation. At Bethlehem there were countless angels praising God; on Golgotha legions of darkness filled the impenetrable gloom, hoping that darkness would finally triumph over light. Heaven was silent.
Christ felt both the hurt of man's injustice and the weight of God's justice as he went forth to bear the full curse of sin and so to be accursed of God. He was to die on a cross and 'cursed is every one that is hanged on a tree' (Gal. 3:13). Matthew Henry comments, 'Those that see him thus hang between heaven and earth will conclude him abandoned of both and unworthy of either'.
Christ became a 'curse for us'. He bore our sin and its consequences, even the curse of a holy God. He was treated as if he were a sinner. God's curse is intrinsically holy. It is his condemnation of sin and the sinner. Christ as sin-bearer was inevitably accursed of God. Just as blessing reaches its fullness in heaven, so the curse reaches it fullness in hell, and Christ experienced the curse in its fullness.
He 'took the curse upon Himself in order that He might satisfy us with His blessing'. While it is true that 'He came to preach the Gospel, His chief object in coming was that there might be a Gospel to preach'.
Now, the forgiven, restored sinner willingly takes up his cross and follows the Lord Jesus Christ. That cross is whatever the Christian suffers for the sake of Christ and his truth. In bearing that cross there is peace and blessedness as the Christian experiences the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. Not that we can share in the redemptive suffering of Christ, but rather that we seek by God's grace to deny self, accept the anguish of the struggle against sin and bear meekly the scorn of a world that rejects Christ. 'There are some who would have Christ cheap. They would have Him without the cross. But the price will not come down'.
The hand that reaches out for salvation must be empty. Everything of self must be disowned. We are debtors to mercy alone. We are all beggars. - Taken from The Cross He Bore, by Frederick Leahy