Will We Ever Comprehend the Cost of the Cross?
Even though I have been a Christian for 46 years, I am still discovering more about the cost which God the Father paid in sending Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior.
Now usually we hear about Jesus’ physical suffering on the Cross. It was horrible to be sure! Yet others have endured worse. In fact, Paul said that on FIVE separate occasions he received the same 39 Roman lashes that Jesus suffered. He was also beaten with rods three times and stoned once (2 Cor 11:24-25). Wow!
The real horrors of Jesus’ crucifixion were far worse than any physical suffering. Remember that for all time and eternity past, Jesus had only known purity, holiness, and the glorious presence of the Godhead. While on earth, Jesus lived in that same purity. He was tempted, yet without sin. He lived in unbroken fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.
But on the Cross…
Jesus BECAME A CURSE for us:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having BECOME A CURSE for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).
Jesus BECAME THE “SERPENT” for us:
And as Moses lifted up the SERPENT in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up [referring to the bronze serpent Moses put on a pole to cure the Israelites from the snakebite they got from complaining – see Num 11:4-9].
Jesus BECAME SIN for us:
2 Cor 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to BE SIN for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
For the very first time, Jesus experienced separation from the Father:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
The “cup” Jesus had to drink was not merely physical suffering. That “cup” was the filth of mankind’s sin. In Gethsemane, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus agonized in prayer, sweating drops of blood:
Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.
Though Jesus pleaded, the Father’s will stood firm. There could be no other way to redeem mankind from the curse of sin. Jesus drank every drop of that cup of filth, sin, and shame. He bore in His body the full punishment for ALL mankind’s sin.
Isaiah, the Messianic prophet, paints the portrait from God’s perspective (not man’s) of what truly occurred on the Cross:
Isaiah 53:4,6,10 (NASB)
[He was] SMITTEN by God, and afflicted…
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him…
But the Lord was pleased to CRUSH Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering…
There is an important truth here:
Understanding the depths of the horrors which Jesus suffered
requires realizing the ugly depths of our sin for which He died.
In other words, were mankind’s sin a simple, one-time petty theft, such an extreme price would not be necessary, and perhaps a few good works could erase it. That’s why so many people believe that someone can be good enough to be accepted into Heaven. This is why their view of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross is so superficial and insignificant. Thinking that way is a huge insult to Jesus who paid such a high price to be our Savior.
To illustrate, imagine you have had a little cough for some time. You make light of it and do your best to ignore it. Friends and family finally persuade you to see a doctor. After examining you, the doctor exits the room. You feel relieved, thinking there is nothing to worry about. But the longer the doctor takes, the more your heart sinks. Finally, the doctor returns. With a somber look on his face, he hands you a very long list of medications that he explains must be started right away.
What happens to your perspective? The extreme medical measures required for your cure bring the shocking revelation of how seriously sick you are!
This is the bitter-sweet message of the Cross: The sweet cure of salvation must come with the revelation of the bitter ugliness of our sin.
We can only realize more of the depth of the seriousness of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross TO THE DEGREE of our willingness for God to show us the depth of the seriousness of our sin sickness!
We have inherited the awful nature of Adam and Eve’s sin and their blame game in the garden. All our life we have trained ourselves in the skillful art of self-justification, battling our conscience, and avoiding the seriousness of sin. Oh, how we hate it when people correct us! How angry we get when someone rightfully accuses us! How quickly we think up excuses. Yet now, standing before the Cross, our eyes are opened: “Jesus, You drank that whole cup all because of me!”
I’m convinced that for one’s entire lifetime and even the rest of eternity we will be ever comprehending the extent of our sin sickness and the “breadth and length and height and depth” of the “love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:18-19).
Will We Ever Comprehend the Cost of the Cross?
As someone said it like this to me:
“At the very end, If we have allowed God to have His way and full sway in our life,
then we may finally know the difference between ourselves and the grace of God.”
2 Cor 9:15 (Amplified)
Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]!