As we prepare to celebrate the wonder and grandeur of the Resurrection, we ought to be deeply-disturbed by what led up to it, the Cross. There would have been no Resurrection without the Cross, and no Cross without US. It is OUR part in those events that ought to move us to see ourselves as we really are, and our condition should be deeply-disturbing.
We often see ourselves as “pretty good“. We may have lived “moral” lives and not committed any “major” sins, but that is in our estimation. The problem is that, unlike us, God doesn’t grade sins on a “curve“. Sin is sin, and any ONE sin is enough to keep us out of heaven. We also weren’t born with a “clean slate“, so we already had three strikes against us before we took our first breath.
We are so ever careful about what we DO, that we forget that what we THINK and SAY may be as bad as what we DO. If your thoughts were displayed on a video monitor, what would they say about you? Sometimes our “DOING” does get us in trouble, particularly when we FAIL to DO something we should.
A few reminders…
What were you thinking while that elderly person had trouble paying for their purchase in the checkout line you were in? Was it loving to them, or was it dishonoring to them?
Someone got under your skin by how they were driving on the highway. What were you thinking? What would you have said to them if you could? Did you flip them off, or think about it?
You accidentally cut someone off on the highway, and they were madder than a hornet when they sped past you. As they told you off, and maybe even flipped you off, what was YOUR reaction?
Did you mutter to yourself about “inconsiderate” people who were blocking the grocery store aisle with their shopping cart because they couldn’t find what they were looking for? Are you so self-centered that any “inconvenience” becomes good “reason” to be impatient with them?
I could go on and on with examples, and yes, I am guilty too, but that isn’t the point. We have been given a standard to live by, because God has every right to expect proper behavior from us.
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
Aye, but what about the Ten Commandments, or all the other commandments in the Bible? Hear me carefully…the rest of the commandments are applications of the two Great Commandments. If we keep the Great Commandments faithfully, we WILL keep all the rest.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:19-21)
Our failure to keep God’s commandments, plus God’s great love for us, IS what nailed Jesus to the Cross. I invite you to contemplate this wonderful hymn:
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr’s, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
©1995 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
Words and Music by Stuart Townend
Can you see yourself there? Has it sunk in yet that the Cross was about me, and about you? It was also unequivocally about God the Father and His unfathomable love for us. The Cross was NOT a “Plan B“, an afterthought, once God figured out that His human project had exploded in His face. It was already graven in stone before God knelt in the Garden and fashioned Adam from the dust of the ground.
Jesus was born Crucified, but we were the reason, and we drove the nails.
Before you celebrate our Lord’s glorious resurrection, I invite you to meditate on the Cross and do business with God. “At What Cost?” describes the agony of the cross, and what our salvation really cost. Then, you will be prepared to celebrate His resurrection like you may have never celebrated it before.
Have a blessed Easter!!!