Once Again

I wrote this reflection two years ago.

Once again we look upon the cross of Jesus Christ. When we mention the cross, we think of humiliation. The most humiliating scene ever happened in history is when the Son of God was being nailed to the cross, the most humiliating method of punishment ever invented. But through humiliation, we remember His glory. Through the scene of the cross we witness the greatest love being manifested. And thus in humiliation we saw glory, the glory of the cross, the wonder of His love. As we ponder upon it, let us not forget this fact: the necessity of the cross shows how deep we have fallen and how great his love is.

“God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus is the only one qualified to bear our punishment. No, we are not qualified to be punished. For what punishment is there that is able not only to settle our debts, but also bring our relationship right with God? There must be none. For we are already sinners and any punishment can only make us even. It will never be adequate to bring us back to God. Is there a punishment that kills us so that we may live a new life? Only if Jesus, the sinless man, bears our punishment in place of us, can we be reconciled back to God. For how could the sinner be made sinless? Only if he who had no sin was made to be sin for the sinner.

Yes, it is unfair. If we want it to be fair, we won’t get anything. We sin, and we are punished. That’s what it is supposed to be, isn’t it? Yes, if what we want is fairness. Should we expect more, after all, knowing that we all sin?

”If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? … And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High …” (Luke 6:32-35).

Jesus loved us who never loved him. Jesus gave His life to us who will never be able to repay Him. He didn’t expect to get anything back. And the reward of it all is on us. The fact is that Jesus took our punishment to be the only hope in our hopeless state.

“… the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

We may look all right at the surface, but He took every single beating in order that our souls can be healed. The wounds that Jesus endured, horrific they were, are the very wounds of our souls. Searing pain inflicted by the torn flesh speak volumes of pride, hatred, false humility, jealousy, self-centredness, and other stinking smells of these sick souls.

”In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity” (Zechariah 13:1).

All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”
(Matthew 27:25)

There is a Fountain, Filled with Blood
William Cowper, 1722

There is a fountain, filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

That fountain has been opened. And as the people cried, though in another sense, we too, cried for the fountain to drench us. For if not his blood, what else could save us?

Even our greatest sin would not be able to put Jesus down from the cross. Even our most wretched sin would not be able to stop His blood being poured. The greatest sacrifice of love has been accomplished and His love will not fail to reach the darkest room of our hearts.

We beat our chests in anguish, until we can beat no more. It won’t stop the beatings he received. Oh, how can we ever repay his love?

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth, and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21-24).

Let the Spirit who moved us to tears, who remind us of his great love, let the same Spirit move us to obey, and give us strength to follow in his steps. Let the memory of the cross linger in our hearts, till we see His hands in eternity.


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