What can I say to a mystery so great as the cross?
This is one of the pivotal moments in all of history. The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are the fulcrum of the ages.
My method here is going to be a little old-school. Instead of trying to wax all theological, I’m simply going to insert some scriptures and add a few (hopefully) short reflections. Instead of trying to figure out this great mystery, I’m simply going to approach with fear and trembling and bow down.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
Jesus, you gave your life for me? Help me to move beyond the Christianese of that phrase and meditate on its wonder. I was your enemy, but you love your enemies and die in their place. You have truly made love into an action, and oh, what an action! It’s because of this that I see that I don’t really love until I’m willing to die for that person.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Jesus, how you turn the world upside-down, or is it right side up? That an unjust death on a cruel instrument of torture and execution would be the best news in all of history is truly shocking. Jesus, help me never to lose the wonder of something so great and terrible that we never could have imagined in a million years.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)
Sin is no longer my master. Thank you Jesus, that you are now my good master. I know that I don’t like to think in terms of sin very often these days, but my life was full of it, and it was killing me. Thank you Jesus for killing my old self so that all of the junk that I’d accumulated could be blasted away.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 1:20)
Jesus, somehow you dying on the cross gives me a new lease on life, and the chance for a new kind of life: your kind. I’m glad that you live in me so that I can really live.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)
Jesus, thank you that it is finished. It is done. I’m so baffled that I don’t have to earn a stinking thing. You earned it for me?
Your arms were open wide. You had them forced there, but you chose it all the same. I know that I drove you there, just as you’re driving me there now. Help me to follow you, carrying around that strange paradox of death that brings life within me. Help me to meditate on those dark days when nobody knew that you were coming back from the dead. Help me to feel the despair and anguish of those who were now so confused and lost. They are me, and I know it. Help me not to deceive myself.
Jesus: your death for me and for the world is too wonderful for me to comprehend.