I haven’t been able to reflect as much this week on the crucifixion because I’ve been in Chicago. Today, we drove nine hours to get back to Lincoln and finally, I have some time alone to refocus on the cross.
I just read a Lenten reflection by C.S. Lewis’s, from his book The Four Loves. It certainly stirred my soul to ponder more deeply what the cross of Jesus means:
God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing–or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God–the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up…Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.
Jesus endured the greatest pain anyone could ever experience. He was unrecognizable on the cross. His flesh was literally coming off his bones–no doubt this ribs showing and his organs beginning to spill out. More than that, the spiritual burden and pain was nearly unbearable. For a split second, because he held the sin of the entire world in his soul, the Father turned his back on Jesus. Imagine the loneliest place, the most somber feeling, and the most fearful thoughts. That does not even compare to where Jesus was for that moment on the cross. This he did for us. This was the greatest of all loves. This he did to free you of your sin.
In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus became the sin that you and I commit everyday so he could redeem us. He atoned for our filthiness with one pure, beautiful, loving, gracious, merciful, justifying act. He was made to be sin, and since he had known no sin before, it was taxing on his soul. He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was devastated. Yet, it was the “will of the Lord to crush him” (Is. 53:10) and now Christ sits on his throne as our great high priest. “He bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors” (Is. 53:12). For the weak, wounded sinner, he continually pleads his death to the Father.
All this he did for love.
Truly, it is a Good Friday. Truly, Jesus is a good Savior.
Looking forward to Sunday with you,