THE CROSS OF JESUS
Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century British evangelist, made this comment concerning the cross. “This is the greatest sight you will ever see. Son of God and Son of Man, there He hangs, bearing pains unutterable, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Oh, the glory of that sight!” Many hearing this would likely ask, “But how can anyone glory in the sight of such cruelty? The fact is, it’s only as one begins to understand and personally experience God’s incredible plan for man’s salvation, can he “glory in the cross of Jesus.”
The Bible states that it was while we were all still sinners that Christ died for us. Jesus didn’t die for good people. He died for broken people and sinners. Sinners like you and me. (Romans 3:23)
Seven hundred years before Christ came, the prophet Isaiah spoke about a “servant” that would come, grow up obeying God, be hated and rejected, and one day greatly suffer and then die for us. (Isaiah 53:1-4) That servant was Jesus.
Isaiah wrote: “He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the Lord gave him the punishment we deserved. The Lord decided his servant (Jesus) would suffer as a sacrifice to take away the sin and guilt of others. …he suffered for our sins and asked God to forgive us.” (Isa. 53:5, 6, 10, 12 CEV)
Bombastic Peter, one of Jesus’ early disciples, was so upset at how Jesus was being treated that he tried to help Jesus avoid the cross. Mindful of his purpose Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me Satan.” (Matt. 16:21-23) Jesus knew that Satan was working through Peter to get him to avoid the cross - yet this was the very reason he came. The cross was the center of his mission, and it could not be avoided. Let’s give Peter some credit – his intentions were likely good – but he hadn’t yet grasped God’s bigger plan.
Charles Stanley said, “The greatest expression of God’s goodness is the cross of Christ. What appeared cruel and unfair from man’s perspective was the only way to rescue us from a hopeless eternity without God.” Christ’s death on the cross was not a tragedy – it was a glorious event.
American missionary and prolific hymnist, Fanny Crosby, penned this familiar prayer song. “Jesus, keep me near the cross - there a precious fountain, free to all a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s Mountain. In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever. Till my raptured soul shall find, rest beyond the river.”
Everything that God has done in His universe - including the cross of Jesus - has been for the purpose of revealing His incomparable majesty, glory, and grace.
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
Isaiah 53; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-17