Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Minimizing the Cross
Do we take the outpouring of God's wrath on Jesus on the cross lightly?
Strange question, I know, but I think it's one worth pondering.
On Sunday, we sang a song that had a line in it that has stuck with me for a few days now - "He never sinned but suffered as if He did." It's from a song by the Desperation Band called "Overcome" and the truth of that statement is pretty foundational for believers. Jesus took on our punishment, though He didn't deserve it.
I have a memory from when I was a young child of sitting on my parent's bed next to my sister and she was in trouble. I wasn't being reprimanded, so I must have been there for moral support. And as the reprimand was coming to its end, I realized that there was a spanking coming.
In a moment of sheer compassion for my sister, with tears in my eyes, I asked to be spanked in her place. Now, before you think too highly of me as a child, or even doubt my story, let me give you some insight to this generous offer. First, I didn't think my dad would spank me in her place, but if I offered, he might forgo it for both of us. Or if he did do it, it wouldn't be nearly as hard as it would be if my sister would receive it. So, either way, it wasn't going to be too bad and it would spare my much-spanked sister from another spanking.
Point of the story? I think sometimes we look at Jesus' offer to die in our place and we assume it wasn't as bad as what it would have been for us. I mean, come on - He was only on the cross for six hours. How does that match an eternity of suffering? And how could He suffer for all people? Is that even possible?
Do you see how easy it is to write off what He did? Bottom line, Jesus is God and His taking on our sin was no light matter. It wasn't a partial or lighter moment of discipline and God the Father did not show mercy on Him. He poured out His wrath and Jesus felt the full weight of His Father's punishment and separation.
And yes, it was an eternity's worth.
It's something that we will never understand because we won't have to go through it and because we are not God. But it was real and it was sufficient and it was worse than horrible.
End of the story? I was dismissed from the room and my sister got spanked. If I had received her punishment that afternoon, I am sure she would have been grateful, but she would have been in trouble again and I doubt I would have offered again. That's the wonderful thing about the blood of Christ - it covers for eternity and even though while here in the flesh we continue to sin, He doesn't continue to suffer. He paid the price, once and for all.
Let's determine to live lives of gratitude to our Savior, Jesus Christ, recognizing the reality of His sacrifice for us.