Thankful for the Cross
Pastor Driscoll's message was on the atonement of Jesus at the cross. During Lent, we remember Christ's death, the sin of all of man, all that drove Him to the cross. We remember what we would be like without Jesus. But it's too easy to gloss over the details, those awful details that words cannot even capture a fraction of what that day was like, the day Jesus died. Crucifixion in those days was the worst of all deaths, and the pastor explained it was that kind of death that the word "excruciating" came from. As the pastor went on and on about what it meant to be scourged, using words that I cringed with every syllable, I found myself wanting to say, "enough already. I know it was horrible!" But that was just his point. The pastor wanted people like me to feel uncomfortable.
We sing on the cross, we read words about the cross, how Christ became sin on our behalf, but too often, those words become too familiar. I repeat my thanks to the Lord for all He's done, but I don't often really sit and think about what really meant. The crux of our Christian faith rests on the truth that Jesus died. He died, for our sin! I was struck this morning by the words of Jesus in John 14, "I lay down my life and I pick it up again." He went there willingly to the cross. It may have seemed that the Jewish leaders forced it on him, or that Pilate arranged it all, but it was the Father's plan and will.
I also find myself when it gets too gory, or the details of Roman crucifixion too much to handle, that sometimes I make it better by telling myself, that Jesus was God so somehow He didn't feel it as much. Not true. He was fully man. He made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness," Paul tells us in Philippians 2:7. Jesus was my scapegoat, the One who took my place.
I know there have been very distinct moments when I have felt the weight of the cross, or of my sin, but it's time I felt it again. I weep in gratefulness tonight. Jesus, thank You once again for the cross. At the cross, God made us one again. The Father wanted His kids back, Calvin says. How beautiful is that?
"How much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" Romans 5:15