Yesterday we celebrated Easter. I am sure that I have personally been in church on Easter Sunday over 50 times in my life. Fifty different sermons, yet yesterday’s sermon on the cross hit the mark.
Crosses – we see them everywhere. Some people wear them, while others use them as decor. We see them on the sides of roads where a loved one has died or standing tall on a hilltop. Although visible universally, I cannot bring myself to watch a movie that depicts Jesus dying on the cross. Personally, watching the crucifixion enacted in a movie is the equivalent to watching a DVD of a loved one’s fatal car accident over and over. My imagination needs no help when I read the story in my Bible.
Sunday morning worship began and we sang Chris Tomlin’s song….. At the cross, at the cross, I surrender my life, I’m in awe of You, I’m in awe of You, Where Your love ran red, And my sin washed white, I owe all to You, I owe all to You Jesus.
This song sums up the cross in a few words. https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=4ONVG8DaREA&index=1&list=RD4ONVG8DaREA v=4ONVG8DaREA&index=1&list=RD4ONVG8DaREA
Pastor Eddie asked us to turn in our Bibles to Isaiah 53:5. I’ve read it hundreds of times. I knew what it was before I had to turn to it. Yet, I learned a whole new facet of the cross I had never acknowledged. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
As a visual learner, I needed no help of this image. But what was necessary for me was to learn that Jesus was crushed for our iniquities. WHAT?What kind of word is that? Isn’t that just sin? The things I do wrong. The thoughts I think wrong. Yada yada yada. ALL THE THINGS I ALWAYSDO WRONG? (My shoulders slump from the weight.)
Iniquity is defined as evil, crime, wickedness, sin, and gross injustice. There is much wickedness in the world today. But I had never seen or acknowledged that Jesus not only died for my sin but also gross injustice done against me.
I’ve experienced injustice (unfairness, prejudice, wrong,). And I’ve worn it proudly around my neck like jewelry. Let’s get honest: I want everyone to see it and feel sorry for me; I want people to choose sides; I want to gain the sympathy of being the victim.
Yet, Jesus hung on the cross for those gross injustices. And as long as I hold onto them, parade them, and display them for attention, I don’t trust that Jesus died for them. Jesus WAS pierced, crushed, punished and wounded but I haven’t believed it.
That unbelief came to an end yesterday.
Similar to how the disciples and his followers could have felt, watching Jesus crucified and the abrupt end to his ministry. Yet three short days later experience the joy and freedom of his resurrection. What amazement!
I exited church with a spring in my step because God wants to redeem my pain. I can use that pain to turn to Him, to grow, to help others and advance the gospel.
The cross depicts a deeper meaning to me today. And this wasn’t just another Sunday…