|Posted by Lorraine Serra on March 5, 2013 at 9:30 AM|
This “cross thing” is a very gruesome thing indeed. Why would anybody surrender to it willingly, especially if you didn’t deserve it? But, that’s exactly what Jesus did. He had the chance to answer his accusers in a way that would have saved him from this death sentence, yet he did not.
Why did He do it? Was there no other way? His critics of the day must have thought he was insane, or stupid or perhaps, a fraud, after all. Remember the taunting crowd as Jesus hung nailed to that cross for three hours?
“He saved others so let him save himself if he is truly the Son of God!” Matthew 27:42
The Bible tells us that Jesus was fulfilling his mission upon the earth. The very reason he was born was to die in this humiliating, torturous, gruesome way. Appalling, unnerving, nauseating. This crucifixion is in our faces. Are we looking at it? Spend some time reading through the Gospel of Matthew beginning in chapter 26 through 27.
Whether you are familiar with Christian theology or not, you may certainly wonder what this was really all about, and rightly so. The concept of one man taking the punishment for the many defies logic. And not just any man; the Son of God! Really? Divine Royalty? The apostle Paul even wrote about this in his first letter to the Corinthian church in Chapter 1:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Perishing? Who is perishing? Who is being saved? Who needs to be saved? What are we being saved from? Have you ever asked these questions?
Who wants to make sense out of this “cross thing” anyway? It is such a stunning, shocking and horrifying picture. Such torture and brutality is hard to conceive of. Yet, humanity has been known to dish out quite an abundance of it through the centuries, even still today.
We shudder to see news reports of the senseless slaughter of the innocent around the world. We have recently witnessed one regime destroying another, even torturing and eliminating its own people who resist submission to tyrannical governments in the Middle East. Genocide in many countries, and wars among and within nations, and even the gang violence in our city streets make it quite clear that there is something inherently wrong with humanity.
With such evidence of evil around us, the cross of Jesus Christ is raised up as a very contrarian solution. It certainly demands some concentrated meditation, not a passing review. This historic event has divided some and united others. It has impacted millions as the revelation of a pure, undeserved gift of love from an Almighty God, while at the same time becoming a stumbling block of absurdity to others.
The rule of Rome made common use of crucifixion to maintain control over people. It was the punishment for rebellion. This tool of ultimate torture and disgrace, though, became God's remedy for every evil in men's hearts.
On that cross we observe the most scandalous and illogical divine exchange: Jesus Christ, known for miracles and great wisdom, compassion and turning the other cheek, took upon himself the punishment for all the rebellion of mankind.
What was at stake that it would require such a sacrifice as this? Until next time, I pray your heart is moved to a deeper consideration of the Cross in this song.
Lord, help us to see you with new eyes and a new heart. Amen.
Categories: Lenten Meditations - Journey to Victory