On the way to Resurrection Sunday, there has to be the day Christ died. Let me urge you to spend some time pondering the cross. - Charlie
A JOURNEY TO THE CROSS
And the cost of saving me
What an honor to study 1 Peter 1:18-19 – and then to shed some tears! Words can never express the value of our Savior’s “precious blood”. We can identify with Paul in Eph. 3:17-19, having an ambition to comprehend, while the immensity is past knowledge. Christians may pause to question, I do, a bit fearfully that perhaps we are not grasping what it meant to God for Christ to take our place. Measuring this mortality against the incalculable work of the Savior - it’s hard to grasp. I penned my struggle:
TODAY, I journeyed in my thinking to the scene of the cross…
Somehow, it seems the crowd parts to stare as I make my way to the feet of the Savior. Death is often bloody, ghastly, shocking, but I was not prepared for the trauma that sweeps me now. These are the feet that carried my Lord down the sandy shores of Galilee. Reaching high, I touch the greatest Man who ever lived. My hands stop just above an incredulous reality - the punctured wounds, impaled right through Him! I cringe as every nerve is electrified in horror. Grasping His ankles, His hairs touch my palms. I think His flesh is quivering. Jesus groans! Time seems reluctant to move, like the sun stopped in the sky. I see it in His features, through the loss of blood and pain shooting from every direction, intensive shock seizes His body!
I lean against the cross, trying to understand. Do I really sense the infinite redemptive power present upon this hill? What a revolting sight! That labored breath is drawn from the One I love. JESUS! And I cannot help You! May God deliver His pitiful child from being so dull! – “Scary God! – As this is the spot! - This is the day! - This is the sacrifice! - And my future is right now being weighed in the eternal balance of destiny!”
Then the Son of God lowers His gaze from Jerusalem and the crowd on the hill. He looks down, deep and long - right into my eyes. I tremble! I’m amazed! I’m speechless! Wide-eyed, I stare back in awe! The powers of darkness must be attacking Him, but He is looking at me! The searing pain throbbing and convulsing across the face of the crucified is intensely evident. And I cry to see His awful sense of loneliness and loss. Never! Not an instant from eternity has the Son been separated from the Father’s fellowship. Carrying my sin so appalls the Holy One. “God, I’m appalled too!” He shudders again and again! The Just for the unjust! Holiness bearing sin! I know this old sinner rates nothing, and certainly not His agony - upon agony - upon agony. Whatever His thoughts through what seems like an eternity of torture, it is nearly hidden by a distinct expression as His eyes clear. He sees me . . . and I see love! Love and compassion! Even now? And why care, I wonder, why at any time ever? How can this be?
I lower my red-stained hands slowly and stare, gawking in wonder at the fresh blood! What can wash away all my guilt, my very filthiness and sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! Incredulously, I shiver, beginning to grow weak and faint! Tears fill my eyes, blurring my vision, flowing like the rivers of spring down my cheeks! Pain pulls violently at my breast! “God, maybe through this trip to the cross, it will help me to increase my gratitude to Jesus Christ and the holy Trinity.” Lonely and forsaken! - Tortured and soon to die! - Why would He intervene for me in this way? Nausea sweeps me! How vile the stench of human depravity and how evil this scene in its willful brutality. I’m terribly sick to my stomach and sick in my soul. “Oh, help Lord! No, I deserve no help, but I’m nearly drowning as the smell of death is overwhelming and all around us!” Pondering sadly… “I hate this sin! It's my fault! This is definitely vitally serious to see the blood of the Eternal, Almighty God that darkens my hand!” As I bow, beneath the cross, blood falls as rain across my shoulders. I whimper with my face on a stone. Alone with Jesus, and yet I feel the presence of a billion souls. I whisper – and was it the moan of the wind, or can it be that the souls of all the ages are speaking with me? “I take full responsibility. I’m responsible for this torturous altar, for the awful sacrifice of the Lamb of God!”
As the sun veils the scene, I’m being drawn away. The crucifixion begins to fade in the distance as I'm pulled back into the 21st century! Ah, I’m so upset! Why didn't I gently lay hold of His feet and cry out my thanks and praise? The vivid scene was almost like a silhouette focused against the panorama of the whole world of sin! But His sacrifice shook me beyond words! Shame fills my soul, but praise is warming my heart! Gratitude rises and cascades to cry afresh from my lips! How could the precious Lord Jesus Christ endure bearing my sin on that dreadful day, through those terrible and torturous hours - suspended high in nakedness, cruelty and pain?
I can’t stand as I slip to the ground, but here is where I belong on my knees as the posture fits. "Thank you, Lord Jesus! I've been silent for way too long! I know I need You moment by moment as the total focus of my life! I love You! Help me! I want to live for You!” How through my life on earth can I guard this moment, to forever marvel at the day when You died in my place! Without You and what You did, I would surely have suffered forever! I had no hope... but the very Son of God climbed Golgotha to enter the place of judgment, to face the omnipotent wrath of God for all of my sin! Jesus, You took my place!
False religion does not like it and the devil doesn’t like it much either, but here’s the real theme of our pulpit: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)
Enemies of the cross, come to Jesus! Let’s put our pride where it belongs. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14)
Our religious pedigrees and accomplishments are nothing. It’s all about the blood as my way to the Heaven of God.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Won’t you take your trip to the cross today and surrender to God? “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Rom. 5:8-9)