September 7, 2013

Three Reasons You and I Need to Hang Out Close to the Cross

As we've returned to routines over the last few weeks, daily Bible story reading has found its place again in our rhythm.  We picked up where we left off in Catherine Vos' The Child's Story Bible, finding ourselves in the Holy Week narrative of Jesus' life.  In the midst of the story of Jesus hanging on the cross, Vos makes these statements:

It is very painful to you and me to see our beloved Lord hanging there on the cross, with His blood dripping down.  But even though it is painful, we need to look, for He hangs there because of what we have done.  His blood is being shed to pay for our sins.  He loved us so much that He chose to die in our place. (p.323-324)

It is painful to enter into how the Lord suffered on the cross.  I don't know about you, but I closed my eyes and covered my ears for most of the Passion of the Christ.  It's gruesome and terrifying.  But I love how Vos' sentiments reminded me of the beauty and importance of hanging out close to the cross.

So, without further ado and thanks to Ms. Vos, I present for your reading pleasure:

3 Reasons You and I Need to Hang Out Close to the Cross
  1. We're more wretched than we want to believe.  Standing at the foot of the cross and gazing (so to speak) at our suffering Lord reminds us that desperate times call for desperate measures.  Our situation without God's intervention was without remedy.  The condition of sin in which we find ourselves separated from God required blood being shed for the relationship to be made whole.
  2. God's love is more vast than we can fathom.  Our situation without God's intervention was without remedy.  But God intervened!  He started with the sacrificial system He gave to His people under Moses, promising later to send a Messiah to be the slain lamb to save the world.  God's love is so deep He would send His own Son and for a time completely turn His back on Him to save us, the wretched ones.  And Christ, the second person of the God-head, obediently and lovingly followed God the Father's plan, not calling down legions of angels to rescue Him from His unjust sentence, but hanging there and dying, taking the curse that was ours.  "What wondrous love is this, O my soul!", indeed!
  3. Forgiveness in Christ is more complete than we can imagine.  Do you remember what Christ said on the cross before He breathed his last?  "It is finished."  It.  Is.  Finished.  No more regular sacrifices, because the Lamb was slain.  No more Holy of holies, because the curtain was torn in two.  No more measuring up through the law, because Christ died to set us free.  If you are in Christ (having believed in your heart and confessed with your lips) you ARE a new creation.  Period.  You are forgiven.  The gavel has come down and your chains have been loosed and you are set free!

Yeah, But What Difference Does It Make?

Great question!  We'll get into that in my next post, because the kids are done with their Saturday morning shows.  :)  See you then!

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