I’ve seen movie portrayals of the Passion of Jesus, but this year it became real in a way that I neither anticipated nor prepared for.
I sat in a meeting and we discussed how powerful it would be to have a cross made that was as close to the one Jesus would have been crucified on.
“Can you do it?”
“I think so.”
We researched the facts and that is what they were, mere facts. Facts about the execution tool used by the Romans in the time of Jesus. We studied the dimensions and I set out to replicate the cross. Replicate the cross.
It was simply a project, until the transformation of plain railroad ties began.
The staining, the weathering.
The distressing of the wood. The distressing from being dropped and dragged.
The deep imprints from the pounding of nails.
The addition of red paint where the stains of blood would have been.
It became real. In all of its gruesomeness and brutality, it became beautiful.
When the cross was assembled in the sanctuary it all came so overwhelmingly close. The reality of Jesus broken for me.
Jesus broken so that my sins would be forgiven. Standing in front of this rugged cross I had a intimacy with the Lord that I had never had before. I sat with Him in the upper room, prayed with Him in the Garden of Gesthemene. I stood there with Him the day Pilate authorized His death. I walked alongside Him as He carried that cross. I watched Him suffer and die for me.
I sat in stillness.
The reality of my sins overwhelmed me. You see it was my pride, my selfishness, my idolatry and greed that Jesus died for. Mine. And because of His love, His blood, His sacrifice on that executioner’s cross, I live redeemed. We live redeemed.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.
The executioner’s cross became the symbol of joy and grace that defines my life.
Thank you Jesus is painfully inadequate and it must be my life that reflects just how grateful this simple soul is for that cross.
Words fail me, this life cannot.
As we pause and reflect this Good Friday, we are powerfully reminded that the cry on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” was a cry that was ours to cry. One that Jesus cried for us.
A cry out to the Holy God that tore the curtain in two.
Torn for you and for me.