At the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice:
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
These words of Jesus from the cross reverberate in the hearts of Christians even to this day, giving us an indication of the unfathomable depths of suffering Jesus endured for love of us. The earliest Christians, who knew what crucifixion was like, would never wear or display a cross. They felt traumatized just by looking at one.
In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed in anguish, “Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will but yours be done.” (Lk 22:43). The realization of what lay ahead of him made Jesus break into a sweat which “became like great drops of blood falling upon the ground.” (Lk 22:44)
Jesus allowed himself to be betrayed, captured and tried by officials of the temple, by Herod and by the Romans. The result of their treacherously false trials was that Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion. This was the hour of the power of darkness of which the evangelist Luke writes that Jesus foreknew: “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from [Jesus] until an opportune time.” (Lk 4:13)
Now Jesus, who was without sin, voluntarily became sin for our salvation – because he so loved us. Thus he allowed himself to endure inestimable violence in order to conquer violence itself.
Notice that it was not the nails that fastened and kept Jesus on the cross; it was love. In order to break the power of Satan, sin and death, Jesus entered that stupendous combat armed with his love for God and us by resisting evil with love/nonviolence. Jesus absolutely refused to call upon his ten legions of angels to obliterate those who crucified him. Violence cannot ultimately vanquish evil. Jesus proves that the power of love is the absolute ultimate power.
Without the crucifixion, there could be no resurrection. Jesus opened the gates of Heaven for us by his infinite love. Jesus is himself our redemption.