At Easter we often sing about an old rugged cross on a hill, but actually it was not on a hill but by a roadside to demonstrate the power of Rome and to discourage others from criminal activity. The two thieves on either side of Jesus were rightfully punished for their crimes, but Jesus was the sinless Son of God. He willingly allowed himself to be crucified so that his death could become the price that was demanded of a Holy God to pay for my sins and yours.

The mother of James and John, Zebedee’s sons, was there. In Matthew 20, we are told how she came to Jesus asking him to favor her sons by granting that one would sit at his right and the other at his left in his kingdom. She was ambitious for her sons, and decided to help her sons gain the most favored positions when Jesus became king. She expected Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom and save them from Roman oppression, and she wanted her boys to have a prominent place in the future cabinet of Jesus’ kingdom.

I wonder what she was thinking as she stood there at the cross watching Jesus die this cursed death. She had not envisioned this when she asked Jesus to favor her sons with the top two positions in his government. How could it be that he was now hanging on a cross? That cross changed everything.

Indeed, that cross did change everything. Because Jesus died and rose again, we have the hope of Heaven and an eternity with Jesus. Put yourself at the foot of the cross during this Easter season. Thank God that Jesus was willing to die that terrible death, and that he rose again to conquer death so that you can have freedom from eternal death. If you don’t yet know that freedom, I pray you will accept Jesus as your Savior so that you will understand the real reason that Jesus died, and know the truth that he rose again.