Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Christ on the Cross

It is heartbreaking to think of the Lord Jesus Christ hanging from a cross in such shame and agony.  We cannot fully comprehend the awfulness of the thing.  But, it is even more heartbreaking to think what it would be if He had not hung on that cross in such shame and agony.  The amazing grace radiating from that cross has been our salvation.  We cannot fully comprehend the love involved in such a thing, but we can with great thanksgiving, accept it and rejoice that He was willing to endure it for you and me.

This set of stained glass windows in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburg, Scotland, offer us a rather "cleaned-up" version of the event.  It was more horrendous than artists would choose to portray in beautiful stained glass, but just know, our Lord's body was in far worse condition than you see in the picture.  Instead of seeing reality, we can appreciate the symbolism of the picture in the beauty of what Christ did for you and me.  It was the most beautiful act of love and obedience imaginable.

One of the verses in scripture under the heading "The Death of Jesus," that is especially thrilling to me is found in Matthew 27:51.  It happened immediately after Jesus cried out in a loud voice that it was finished and He gave up His spirit (notice - He alone had the power to give up His spirit -- which He did as a sacrifice for you and me).  As soon as Christ's payment for our sin was complete, "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom."

I get chills just imagining that tall, heavy curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple being ripped from top to bottom.  It was torn from top to bottom because the act came from above -- from the hand of God.  Before, only the high priest could approach the Holy of Holies -- and then, only at specified times.  Now, since God Himself opened the way, we can all approach the throne of God and have direct access to Almighty God.  What a privilege!

Thank you, Jesus, for your gracious sacrifice and the gift of salvation and intimacy that you so freely give.  "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" Hebrews 4:16.

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