When I think about the cross and the death of Jesus I am silenced, in awe, grateful, but also bewildered. I read through the Gospels and I see how Jesus suffered persecution and ultimately died on the cross in the most horrific way. It’s the greatest love story ever; God the Father sending His Son to take away the sin of the world. Today we celebrate this and give praise to God for what He had done, for what Jesus had done and for the Holy Spirit who lives within us and helps us realize what this actually means for those who believe.
Because of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection we can smile. We can live with this freedom and authority over sin. We know that eternity now has a home and we can spend it in the presence of God. Even though we often struggle with sin and turn from God we know that it’s not about our good deeds or the lack thereof, but about what Christ had already done and declared finished. I love the initial words of John the Baptist when he saw Jesus, saying “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” It’s amazing the impact of Jesus’ life. We find purpose and joy in Him. We get to laugh with Him and cry with Him. We can place our hope in Him and know that He won’t disappoint us, but best of all we get to experience the unconditional love of God that just breaks our mental capacity to understand.
Everything is so good for us, we receive the benefits of an act we didn’t do, couldn’t do and don’t deserve. In the Bible we read that Jesus prayed, asking His Father if there isn’t any possibility that His suffering might be different, asking if there isn’t any other way, yet still He wants His Father’s will to be done and not His own. Jesus said that His soul was crushed with grief to the point of death. He was in such agony that His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Isaiah 53 says that Jesus’ face was tortured and disfigured to such an extent that He didn’t seem human. From His appearance one couldn’t really see that He was a man. Apart from Jesus’ physical suffering, His greatest suffering was spiritually; for He had the entire world’s sin on His shoulders. 1 Peter 2:24 says that He carried our sins in His body on the cross.
This is for me just incredible and it adds to why I am bewildered when I think of the cross. I can’t fathom why Jesus endured such pain and agony just to save me and you. We will never be able to say that Jesus’s death made sense, because we are remarkable human beings, because we are not. Even though God made us in a remarkable way, we sin every day. Our lives aren’t remarkable and we fall so far short of God’s standard. We are not to die for, yet for us Jesus did die for. It just shows that the love God has for us is too great for us to understand. It requires no standard, it demands no return and it gives with no intention to receive.
Even though in this piece I ponder on the question why Jesus died for us, I think that we shouldn’t be on a mission to understand God’s love, because we won’t. Rather we should embrace it, experience it and let it change us, but most importantly we must love with it and share Jesus’ story to the whole world for everyone must know that they are loved more than they could ever understand.
“…And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.” ~ Frederick Buechner