We’ve discussed the reasons why we need Easter, but what does the cross really do? How can it truly heal? Surely, it’s just a symbol…
Christ died on the cross – often, this sentence alone, having been heard so many times, doesn’t quite hit us. Let’s really think about this for a minute. Jesus, although completely innocent was pronounced guilty – the public chanted and chanted, demanding His death. He was disowned, exposed on the Mount of Olives, and nailed to a cross. Large, sharp nails were hammered through His hands and His feet. These nails, applied the force necessary to keep Him hanging there – how much pain this would have caused! He was mocked. His clothes were taken and used for betting… Mostly, there was no ledge for His feet, meaning that every breath, was a painful fight against the force of gravity.
The cross is powerful – the worst form of death. And Jesus took this willingly. Why did He take it? Was it to buy God’s love? Many view it this way, but how wrong it is to forget that actually, God already loved us – so much that He could never love us any more, or any less. For God sent Him. So what does the cross do?
The truth is, the cross is such a mystery – we will never be able to understand how it physically works… But, we do know that through Jesus’ death we were reconciled to God. God already loved us, but our sin was in the way. So what the cross really does, is bridge that gap.
In the worlds eyes, reconciliation is about balancing the books. But in heavens eye’s it’s more than this – there is no compromise. But rather merciful healing. At the cross, sin meets grace. It doesn’t balance our sin, with enough good stuff to see us through. It completely annihilates sin! Of course, sin still exists, and we will continue to sin, but when we kneel at the cross, we restore our relationship with God, and welcome His love into our hearts. So much love, that God says, “you are mine now, and sin has no grasp on you!”
There’s a story in the bible, where Jesus’ faithful disciple Peter, being passionate for Christ, vows to never deny Him – to never allow things to get in the way of His relationship with God. Yet, He goes on to deny that he knows Jesus three times. Not once, but three times. You see even Peter, who was with Jesus and who literally walked with Him, all those years ago, could not have an intimate, honest, and perfect relationship with God. He could not trust as much as He should have, because of a sinful heart, threatening His thoughts, actions, and emotions. Peter was vulnerable – this guy who was so close to Jesus, still couldn’t get close enough!
You see, too often, we lose that little bit of passion. Our willingness to side with Jesus fades when we are questioned about our faith. Once again, we are back to talking about the great divide.
When Christ died, He died our death. He took sin’s mortal punishment, so that we wouldn’t have to. But it’s more than a fairytale token to eternal life. He brought mercy. A mercy that put sin itself to death. The way I once heard it described, was like a snake. The snake is everything that isn’t love, or good. And this snake somehow gets inside somebody’s house… They call a ranger, and they come ready to shoot the snake, so that this person can have their home back, for themselves. But when you kill a snake, it has venom inside it (don’t quote me on this), and basically, even once it’s dead, it will move and throw itself around, as the venom reacts. It will shake things off shelves, and cause mess…
The thing is, Christ died so that when we call on Him, we may be wholly with God, and holy in spirit. Christ put sin to death, but it’s still present. It’s still moving around in our lives – however ultimately, it’s powerless when we have Christ. Because this mercy is a medicine.
Mercy bridges the gap, allowing us to walk over sin, to where God is – to do life with Him, and His promises. It doesn’t buy love – for this love already exists. But rather it allows us to reach this love, and cherish it in our lives, despite all of our sin.
Will you kneel at the brutal, painful, death of sin?