Years ago, a man from our church recounted to Doug and me about the first time he had met his friend Jimmy. He had been attending a conference at a local church. As he walked past the sanctuary during a break, he heard the sound of sobbing. Curious, he quietly opened the door and peered inside.
A wooden cross stood imposingly in the center of the altar. There, at the bottom of the cross, lay Jimmy. He was clinging to that cross with both arms and he was sobbing. Deep, heaving sobs.
As our friend would later discover, Jimmy was desperate for God. And he knew the place to find Him was at the foot of the Cross.
“It is finished.”
Such powerful words.
They are among the last words that Jesus spoke before He died and the glorious offer of redemption was made to all.
He had endured betrayal, mockery, beatings so severe that He did not even look like a human being, searing pain, shame, ridicule, brutal savagery… and the worst punishment of all: separation from the Father for the very first time as He endured divine wrath on our behalf.
“What happened at the cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus’ hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon His soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ Himself. Some say, ‘God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so He turned away.’ But that is not true. God turned away because He could not bear to see your sin and my sin on His Son.
One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden that dam was breached and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God and when he had downed the last drop, He turned the cup over and cried out, “It is finished.” –David Platt, Radical, p. 35-36)
Jesus took my place.
Jesus took your place.
Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering…He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. —Isaiah 53: 4-6
The cross is a horrifying instrument of torture…but it is the most beautiful sight in the world to the sinner who realizes their complete and utter bankruptcy before a holy God.
I never want to get over the sheer miracle of what Jesus did for me on the Cross.
If He never does another thing for me, He has saved me from the penalty of my sin! And that means everything!
I am free!
I am forgiven!
I have been redeemed!
Because of the cross:
*I have passed from death to life (John 5:24).
*I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
*His peace and joy flood my soul (John 14:27; John 16:11)
*I live in Light, not in darkness (Ephesians 5:8)
* my future is secure (Jeremiah 29:11).
*my wounds are being healed by The Healer (Isaiah 53:5)
*all of Heaven has been opened to me (John 14:1-3).
*I need never live in fear (Joshua 1:9).
*I am out of the enemy’s reach forever (James 4:7).
*I am held safe in His arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).
*I will never be alone (Matthew 28:20).
Because of the cross, I will see His face (Revelation 22:4).
And that is what I live for…the moment that faith becomes sight and I finally look upon the beautiful face of the One who loved me enough to die rather than be without me.
“The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”–A.W. Tozer.
“It is finished; the battle is over
It is finished; there’ll be no more war
It is finished; the end of the conflict
It is finished and Jesus is Lord.” —Bill Gaither