The power of the cross isn’t really found in the method. Yes, of course, it was excruciating and torturous, and in that way, the experience Jesus had on that device was accentuated by the horror.
Apparently, though, many people died on crosses in that era, and if that’s true, you can believe that crucifixion was just one method among many. A society that loves to see people die horribly, in a public arena, can be creative.
The common nature of criminal execution in public seems, at least, to diminish the power of that kind of death.
It follows, then, that the pain endured by Christ on the cross doesn’t represent the power of that event either. The pain must have been unimaginable, but not uncommon, and therefore it couldn’t have been its endurance that exalts Christ’s experience. Many others experienced similar pain to the point of death.
The power of the Christ’s cross must have been, fully and completely, in Christ.
Furthermore, I’m much less impressed by the fact that he died for me, without intending to dilute the wonder of that truth in the slightest sense, and much more impressed by the sheer simplicity of the fact that he died.
Jesus died. The one, by whom and for whom all things were made and are held together, died.
He could have opted out. He said that he could have called legions (whatever number that is) of angels to help him, if he had wanted their help. He didn’t want them, and he didn’t call them. You can be sure, whatever angels are, they were hoping for a call from Jesus that day.
He chose to die. He said that no man could take his life. Rather, Jesus chose to lay down his life.
Right there: that’s the power.
The power of the cross came to a crescendo many hours before Jesus was ever nailed to it. It reached its climax in the Garden of Gethsemane, though the carrying out of the thing had to be completed.
In that garden, Jesus prayed. He looked for a way out. He wondered if everything had been completed. He wondered if another meal with his friends might have been possible. He wondered if the children he had held in his lap would be affected by his sudden departure. He wondered how his mother would cope.
Then, he stood in sorrowful triumph. He stood courageously and powerfully, with his jaw set and his heart pounding, and the assurance of the joy set before him compelling him to be resolute.
He gave his life. That’s the power. It’s in the giving, not the taking.
Then, of course, he was raised. Then he ascended. It has to go in order.