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March 2015 - The Terrible and Blessed Cross of Christ

The Terrible and Blessed Cross of Christ

In the darkness of that First Good Friday, the totality of human sin—from the first sin of our first parents to the last sin of the last human being alive (obviously including every on single one of our sins, beyond count or awareness) —all of it was gathered up, pressed together, and then placed onto the Man. The Man Jesus who not only was born without sin and never once committed a sin throughout His earthly life, but as God the Son also absolutely abhorred and despised sin from all eternity, this same Man is absolutely covered in sin – our sin, your sin.  He bore the whole weight of it and owned it as His own. Thus He also bore its penalty — became the very focal point of God’s wrath, enduring even temporal and eternal death (hell) while on the cross.

                It is in this Lenten season that we focus on Christ’s (passion) cross. We see His wounds, the nails affixing His hands and feet to the beams. See the blood running down His face from the thorns. Behold the torment of His scourged and mutilated back as He is forced to rub it against the tree, pushing up against the nails to take in a breath of air. Look, seek, realize: this wounded Man, dying in agony, is not suffering for a single wrong that He has done. As we have seen, His whole life was only love. He was the only human being who completely loved the Father with His all and His neighbor as Himself. Yet it is because Jesus is love that He is now upon the tree. Love will not leave the sinner in his sin. Love takes that sin upon Himself. Love is wounded to grant us healing. He is offering atonement for all the wrongs that we have done.

     Looking at the Cross of Christ, truly looking upon it with comprehension of our guilt as its cause is what we are called to do during this dark and reflective season.  The Cross is painful to truly look upon and consider.  Yet it is also good and salutary to look upon the cross.  It is good to fall on our knees before His bleeding image and to ponder it. It is good even to beg Him to imprint this image on our hearts, so that we might carry it with us wherever we go, so that it can be before our eyes throughout all of our days in the fallen world.

In your battles with satan throughout your days in this fallen and cursed world, all the way to your last battle with him at the hour of your death, these outward, objective truths (The Cross, your baptism when the blessed work of Jesus’ Cross was applied to you) will be your weapon against the despair of the enemy. You will be able to look at all of your sins as the accuser brings them before your eyes, and you will be able to acknowledge their hideous nature as an irrefutable testimony to your countless failures. You will be able to acknowledge that you are a great sinner – but then shout out that Jesus is a GREATER SAVIOR!   Jesus was wounded for YOUR sins – suffered hell for YOUR sins.  The payment has been made.  You can quote God’s word right back at your evil accuser that there is NO CONDEMNTAION for those who are in Christ Jesus.  You can shout back in the devil’s face that you are a baptized child of God, covered in the very righteous robes of Jesus Christ.  This Lententide and beyond, by the grace and strength God the Holy Spirit gives you, resting in the blessed wounds of Christ poured over you in your baptism, lock your eyes upon the terrible and blessed Cross of Jesus and know Jesus has and will save you, will keep you in His strong arms unto Life everlasting, now and forevermore!

Pastor

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