Why I'm still amazed at the Cross
When I survey the wondrous Cross, where my Saviour died...
Jesus paid it all...
It is the most influential event in human history. It is one of the most discussed, studied, reenacted, sung about, and poetically lauded ideas in human literature, its theme of personal mortal sacrifice being echoed countless times. It is the centerpiece of human relationship with the divine.
There's never been anything like the Cross of Christ. There never will be again. It towers over time and eternity, the inescapable emblem of love, sacrifice, wrath, redemption, and victory.
Someone giving himself to save others is a universally appealing idea. It runs like a golden thread through literature in every age and every culture—perhaps because we're made in His image, and the ethic of laying one's life down for others appeals to some shred of His character, still latent in us after the Fall.
The magic of Easter first captured me as a young child, attending a Southern Baptist church with my mother.
All these years later, I still tear up "when I survey the wondrous Cross". I'm listening to a song called, "It Took a Lamb" as I write here in a coffee shop in Pretoria, and I'm barely keeping myself together.
Honestly, I'm still shattered. Overcome. Overwhelmed. Awed. Flattened.
It simply never gets old.
Why am I still amazed by the Cross?
It's so personal.
Really. If I were the only human, Jesus would have come to earth and died to pay for my sin.
Just. For. Me.
This is historical fact: the Son of the living God came to earth and lived a smashingly successful and unprecedented blameless life. Right in His prime, He allowed a political and religious conflict to sweep Him into a public execution--which was His intention the entire time. It's why He came!
Think for just a minute what it cost Him to even come down here (yes, Christmas still gets to me, too). Then to remain focused and undistracted by the success and popularity of His ministry of teaching and miracles. He didn't come to build a ministry. He came with one thing in mind: you.
What a Savior!
It's so devastating.
I like it when my team wins. I really like it when my team wins big.
I'm a lifetime Houston Astros fan (still drunk from the 2017 World Series!!). I remember the first time my team (finally) won a playoff game. It was 2004. We were playing the Braves--those Braves that knocked us out three times in previous years. I hated the Braves.
Game 1, 2004 NLDS. I listened to most of the game in my truck, running errands for work. This was no 2-1 or 1-0 nailbiter. They destroyed those Braves. 9 to 3. It was so awesome. I was screaming in my truck. That game was amazing!
At the Cross, Jesus completely ended sin's authority in our lives. In satisfying the requirements of God's wrath, He not only enabled our escape from its consequences, but then He placed back in our hands all authority on the earth over sin and the powers of hell.
Then, to top it off, He rose from the dead, and shared his victory over death and the grave with us, too.
There's no bloodier battleground than the Cross, and there's no champion bigger than Christ.
What a Savior!
It's so all-encompassing.
I remember singing in that Southern Baptist church:
Jesus paid all!
Revelation 13 describes Christ as the Lamb who was "slain from the foundation of the world." The Cross is actually an eternal event: although we have a specific point in our historical timeline where it "happened", there is an eternal aspect in which God made His decision and laid down His life before He created the universe (in much the same way he chose you and me for Himself before creation, see Ephesians 1:4).
What does that mean? Before you or I ever made one choice for wrong or right, Jesus paid for our sin. All of it. My sin. Yours. Hendrick Verwoerd's sin. Ted Bundy's sin. Adolf Hitler's sin. All of it. Every. Sin. In human history.
So that for any one of us who wants to reconcile with our Father who created us and chose us, all that is required is to acknowledge what He did and surrender to Him as Lord. Jesus paid it all.
Isn't it amazing enough that He paid for all our sins against Him? But He didn't stop there.
In Paul's letters, several times he points out that in Christ there are no more divisions. No more Jew and Gentile. No more male and female. No more slave and free.
In one of these passages, where he is specifically discussing Jew and Gentile, Paul says this:
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall...
He Himself is our peace! What has He done?
He has paid for all our sins against one another! Individuals have hurt one another. Whole people groups in our past and recent history have committed evil, violence, and unspeakable atrocities against other people groups. How can anyone ever pay for that? Can we punish anyone enough to make up for what happened? Who can make it right?
Jesus. Paid. It ALL! He has paid the price! Because of Him, we can come to the Cross, all of us on this big beautiful planet, and we can be one. He Himself is our peace!
What a Savior!
I'll never get over it. Jesus is my hero. The Cross is the most amazing event in history.