“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him . . . the people stood looking on” (Luke 23:33–35).
Look at those last few words one more time: “the people stood looking on” [theoreo, “theorizing”]. They stood by the cross of Jesus, trying to “put things together.” And what did they see?
They saw the obvious. They saw how cruel man could be to others. Death by crucifixion was horrible. Victims frequently died stark raving mad from days of exposure and thirst—a thought that underscores the agony behind Jesus’ words, “I thirst” (John 19:28).
They saw something mysterious. They experienced an eerie darkness “over all the earth.” The sun refused to shine as if it were paying tribute to the death of our Savior (Luke 23:44–45).
They saw something vicarious. They witnessed the death of God in the flesh, an agonizing death that made possible our abundant life (John 10:10; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3).
They saw something marvelous. They saw the same thing you and I are blessed to see when we partake of the Lord’s supper—the love of God (1 Corinthians 11:23–26; cf. 1 John 4:9–10).