To Love & To Lead: Staff Discussions

BEAUTIFUL TERRIBLE CROSS

Posted on Mar 19, 2019 by Kathy Goins

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During this Lenten season, Pastor Wes has us looking at Fred Hartley’s, The Seven Wounds of Christ.  So far, we have learned about The Sweat of Jesus and the Face of Jesus.  Each lesson has given more insight into how much Jesus endured for you and for me.  Although it pains me to repeatedly hear about his sufferings, I can’t help but feel great joy in knowing that he loved me this much.  When Roger and I watched The Passion of the Christ in 2004, I had to close my eyes during many of the scenes because I couldn’t bear watching Jesus being beaten and tortured. I walked away from the theater thinking the Cross is horrible.  It’s bloody, terrible, gruesome, and unjust. It hurt me deeply, and it hurts me even more deeply to know I am one of the sinners who put Him there.

The Good News is He is Risen! Perhaps I should be able to stomach the crucifixion because I know that evil loses. Love wins. Jesus wins. And because Jesus wins, I win. Death loses and is forever conquered for those who put their trust in the One who died for our sins. The story has a beautiful end that is in such contrast to the horrors of the Cross that it’s mind boggling. There is nothing more beautiful than someone laying down their life for another. Not begrudgingly. But willingly.

He could have called ten thousand angels. With one spoken word or even thought, Jesus could have summoned the powers of Heaven to rescue Him from the predicament of an unjust crucifixion. But He willingly stayed put on that cross praying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)  I find it difficult to pray for someone who has merely offended me with their words. How difficult it must have been to pray for an entire crowd who mocked Him, spit upon Him, crowned Him with thorns, nailed Him to a cross, whipped Him, and eventually killed Him by asphyxiation. All this while knowing that in return, God would turn His back and place the sins of the world on Him.

How crushing. How astonishing. How simultaneously ugly and beautiful. It remains a mystery how anyone could or would bear such a weight, and all out of the goodness of His heart and love for others who have hurt, wronged, and sinned against Him.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t love people to that level. Perhaps my children. I’d like to think I’d lay down my life for them if an occasion called for it. But that’s just not the same as being utterly innocent and yet willing to endure the worst form of death known to mankind and dying in the place of those who deserve it. Never has there been an act equally selfless to Jesus’ death on the Cross.

Could I watch The Passion of the Christ again?  I don’t know; But what I can do is read the account of the crucifixion. It stirs up guilty feelings, gruesome images, empathy that hurts my heart. The trick is to keep reading, because while the terrible cross is a true story, so is the Resurrection.

Jesus suffered and died. But Jesus also lives, and because He lives, death has been conquered.

The Cross, though terrible, is also beautiful. It ends well for Christ, because He gets all the glory due Him. It ends well for those who repent and put their trust in Him because evil doesn’t win and death gets conquered.

I encourage you to join us this Sunday as Pastor LaToya shares a powerful message about the third wound of Christ, The Back of Jesus. 



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