The Cross, God, and Me (Good Friday)

Colossians 1:19-22 – For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight–

As Good Friday approaches, we once again reflect and meditate on the cross where Jesus gave His life for us. When you stand before the cross, I believe that it is only right to feel a level of conflict in your soul. You see, the cross presents to us a dichotomy of tragedy and triumph, despair and hope, suffering and salvation, and judgment and redemption. I would like to suggest that we should never try to resolve the conflicting emotions we feel when we gaze upon the cross. I believe the tensions exist to bring about a balanced maturity in us as believers.

“…the cross presents to us a dichotomy of tragedy and triumph, despair and hope, suffering and salvation, and judgment and redemption.”

When I look upon the cross I am horrified that God had to go to such great lengths to rescue me. It reminds me that even on my best day, apart from God, I still deserved only death. The cross is an immovable portrait which declares that it was my insatiable sin, done as an enemy of God, that drove the Son of God to suffer. It makes me sick to realize that my foolishness and rebellion had a part to play in the innocent Savior’s unthinkable torment as he endured the cross and absorbed the wrath of God that belonged to me.

Yet, in the exact same moment of my horror, I find a rush of inexpressible joy stemming from the amount of love that is displayed in the sacrificial act of Jesus. The cross declares that humanity is so loved and valued by God, that He would stop at nothing in order to make a way possible for us to be restored into fellowship with Him. We aren’t intrinsically valuable, but God chose to value us nonetheless. I can’t help but be very happy about this! The cross doesn’t only declare, “God hates your sin”, it declares, “The depth God’s love toward you is unfathomable!”What rest, comfort, peace, and strength I find when I consider that the cross has made me innocent before a holy God, imparted righteousness to me that I could have never earned, and secured all promises of God toward me by grace!

When I look at the cross I cringe, then I smile. I weep, then I laugh. I tremble, then I become secure. I hang my head in shame, then I raise it up again with unshakable confidence. I hope that I never loose the ability to tread on both sides of that scale. I don’t ever want the cross to be a place that keeps me in a state of perpetual condemnation, for that is not the heart of God’s grace. Neither do I want to see the cross without considering the fact that the cross wouldn’t have been necessary if not for my sin. When I look at the cross, I always want to feel the weight of judgment as well as the gift of grace. I want to remember God’s wrath as well as His mercy. I want to embrace conviction as well as stand in confidence.

This year, let the cross of Jesus speak for what it is, and may you, with open heart, wholeheartedly receive its message.

John 3:16 – “…For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in His will not perish by have everlasting life.”

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