When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Many shrink in horror at the thought of Jesus dying on the cross. Indeed, why would a world Jesus came to bless turn on Him and nail Him to a cross? It would seem to betray common sense, until we recognize the power of sin residing in our natures. Still, many Christians do not understand much about the cross and what it means.
What does the cross mean to us?
1. Sin carries a stiff price.
We may brush aside our sin, but God does not and cannot. God is too pure than to behold evil, in fact, He cannot even look on it (Habakkuk 1:13). When Isaiah caught of glimpse of God’s royal majesty, he recoiled in shame (Isaiah 6:5), latter writing that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6). Indeed, when we truly behold the holiness of God, we too will shrink back in shame and fear.
The salvation of sinners carries a very high price, one that we cannot pay ourselves. God put forward His own Son “as a propitiation by his blood” (Romans 3:24) in order to rescue humanity from dire consequences. God could never compromise His own holiness, so He needed to deal with sin in a righteousness manner. He thus substituted the innocent for the guilty, so that the guilty might live. But this all came at the cost of His only Son (John 3:14-18). Sin carries a stiff price.
2. God was pleased to provide a sacrifice for sinners.
Some suppose the cross was an accident of history, when means individuals got carried away with their wrath and venom. But God’s Word describes Jesus as “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23), and that “it was the will of the Lord to crush him” (Isaiah 53:10). Only when we recognize the utter anguish Jesus experienced on the cross do we begin to measure the love of God for sinners.
The famous verse, John 3:16, describes this love as the reason He sent His Son. He so loved the world that He gave His unique Son to die for our sins. God paid a huge price, but He was pleased to so.
3. We rejoice at the cross, but the world derides it.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that the cross is “folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” When we attend a Good Friday service or take communion, we should probably experience a range of emotions. We become sad that our sin drove Christ to the cross. We rejoice that His death has set us free. We resolve to live a crucified life (Galatians 2:20) so that we might die to this world.
4. It means the only path to salvation.
Those who try to enter heaven illegitimately will be turned away (John 10:9), though they plead their good works (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus pointed to Himself as the only way to God (John 14:6), and that we can only be saved by His blood (Romans 5:9). Most of the world will miss this and only a few will find it (Matthew 7:13-14). Yet the promise is free and God calls out to whosoever will (Isaiah 55:1-2).
5. The cause of all true rejoicing and thanksgiving.
All roads lead to the cross. History itself hinges on the cross as all our destinies are tied up with it. What will we do with this man Christ Jesus? Will we receive Him, love Him, obey Him and serve Him? Or will we go our own way? Will we thank Him, or take Him for granted?
The child of God needs to think often of the cross, and meditate on its significance. Here are a few lines from the song, “To the Cross I Cling”:
“No day of my life has passed that has not
Proved me guilty in your sight
The best I have to offer are these filthy rags
And yet you love me
All things in me call for my rejection,
All things in You plead my acceptance
I am guilty but pardoned by grace I’ve been set free
I am ransomed through the blood you shed for me
I was dead in my transgressions, but life you brought to me
I am reconciled through m e r c y,
to the cross I cling.”
Posted on Fri, April 18, 2014
by Sam Petitfils