by Dorette Saunders
We journey with Jesus through the Lenten season, observing his life, his teachings, his walk toward certain death. His death on a cross—was pre-ordained by his Father—to take away the sins of the world.
To the onlooker, the cross is a symbol of suffering and shame. Who can forget Mel Gibson’s powerful movie, The Passion of the Christ? Who did not hear the gut-wrenching hammering as man-made nails punctured divine flesh? Who did not avert their eyes as Jesus, the Lord of Glory, was taunted and tortured, battered and bloodied…for us, people who neither knew him nor loved him? The Scriptures tell us:
He came into his own world,
but his own nation
did not welcome him.
Yet some people accepted him
and put their faith in him.
So he gave them the right
to be the children of God.
(John 1:11-12, CEV)
Yes, the cross is a symbol of suffering, but to believers, the cross is also a symbol of love—Jesus’ love for us, his victory over sin and death, and a prelude to Jesus’ glorious resurrection.
Today, our steps are still heavy as we walk toward the cross. We stop along the way because we can see what it cost God’s Son, yet we can hardly comprehend it. We know we owe a debt, but the cross reminds us it is already paid.
PAID IN FULL.
How can this be?
“The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work” (1 Corinthians 1:18, CEV).
Unlike the sacrificial lamb in his day, Jesus’ blood atoned for our sins, once and for all. We keep looking at the receipt to see if what we have been told is true:
“God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die” (John 3:16, CEV).
Believe it. It’s true! God loved us that much!
This truth lightens our steps as we walk towards Calvary. This truth makes us more confident as we deal with “light afflictions” (2 Corinthians 4:17) that plague us from day to day.
Thank God we know the end of the story. Thank God, God’s Spirit reveals what lies on the other side of the cross.
There is no bypassing the cross. There are no short cuts. Privilege, fame, wealth, or power hold no sway over what God has decreed. We cannot get to the other side without the cross. Jesus affirms that he is the way, the truth and the life, and no one gets to God, the Father, except by way of Jesus Christ. (John 14:6).
So we wait again, with great expectation, for the events at Calvary to unfold. Then on Resurrection Day, with great rejoicing, we know we will behold Jesus, the Messiah, our Savior and Lord.
PRAYER: Loving God, Calvary’s cross covered all our sin and shame. We bask in the sunshine of your love because of Jesus who died to make us new creatures. Give us room to shout our gratitude from earth to heaven. Give us room to out-sing creation and to praise your excellent greatness. Give us plenty good room to open our hearts to your sweet Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.