Friday, April 13, 2012

Reflections on the Cross

Easter has come and gone but I feel compelled for many reasons to spend a few moments this afternoon reflecting on the cross.

God's wrath: In the garden, Jesus was in so much anguish that He sweat drops of blood. Part of His prayers included His plea that God would let this cup pass from Him. On the cross we have recorded that God turns His back on His Son, Jesus...we know this from Jesus' cry of "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" So what exactly is going on here?

Sin has to be dealt with. The only way to deal with sin is death. God, who is pure and holy, cannot and will not tolerate sin. When Jesus died for us, he literally took on Himself every single sin that had been and ever will be committed. Let that sink in. Every single sin that had ever and would ever be committed was willfully placed on Jesus. And what is the punishment for that sin? God's wrath. God's wrath which had been stored up...God's wrath which had yet to come...all of it was in that moment thrust on Jesus.

And in that moment, Jesus, who became sin for us and the recipient of God's wrath, cries out to His Father who has forsaken Him. God turns His back on Jesus. He has too. He cannot endure the presence of sin. He is too holy.

Our Senior Pastor put it this way on Easter;
"God treated Jesus as if he had lived our life; so that he [God] could treat us as if we had lived his [Jesus'] life."

This brings many emotions and thoughts to me. What anguish, despair and loneliness Jesus must have felt as He receives our sin, and quite unjustly receives His Father's wrath, and then sees His Father turn away. What sorrow, pain and agony God the Father must have felt as He was forced to look away and turn His back on His one and only son.

I agree with our Pastor, Jeff, who thinks that this is what was causing Jesus so much anguish in the garden as He prayed. More than anything, He knew that the cross meant He would have to endure the wrath of God poured out on Him. He knows God's wrath. He has seen God's power. And He knew that in that moment for the first time in eternity, He would be separated from His Father. In fact Jesus probably lived most of His life knowing this day was coming. We know that "He was a man of sorrows, familiar with pain." He knew...and yet because of His love for His Father, His obedience, and His love for us, He follows through all the way to the end.

Read these words anew, and believe...

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)

1 comment:

Mare said...

John 3:16 is the first verse I memorized when I was 6 years old. I won't tell you how long ago that was, but it was many many years. I am so glad I renewed my faith in Jesus.