The cross was rugged — a place of offense where blood was shed. It’s where Christ died for your sins and mine and for the rest of the world.
In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul says, “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.” To hang on the cross was horrid enough. However, historians say that Jesus was left with not even as much as a loincloth. The soldiers did all they could to magnify the scandal and shame.
In such a moment, while Jesus hung bleeding, suffering and dying, God laid all the sins of the world upon Him. All our sins were nailed with Him to the cross!
But the agony of the cross wasn’t only physical. There was also a deep, spiritual suffering. In anguish, Jesus wailed, “… My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
When the Father laid all of our sins upon Him and turned away, Jesus indeed died of a broken heart. We should have hung on the cross and died. Jesus died instead. Our sins—yours and mine—broke His heart.
Our sins put Him on the cross. The moment that He bore it all, Jesus felt exactly the pain, guilt and shame of every sinful act. He sees every tear we’ve ever shed over every hurt we’ve ever felt. He knows the very suffering we’re going through even now because He suffered it all for us on the cross.
The shedding of blood by Jesus on the cross was horrible and scandalous, but it was also glorious. He did it for three reasons:
- It was the Blood of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is that process which brings together again those who are apart. Forgiveness is what repairs the breach between people and between God and man.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
It’s the blood of Jesus that brings us near to God and near to one another. When relationships are broken with another or with God, what brings us back together? It’s forgiveness that mends relationships. Jesus shed His blood for just that — to make forgiveness available to us.
- It was the Blood of Peace
The Bible says that we can have peace with God through the cross.
“… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross …” (Col. 1:20).
What does the peace of Christ do? It rules. God says to let the peace of Christ in our hearts call the shots.
When God’s peace enters our hearts, we begin to have a keener discernment of what’s right and wrong in our lives. Jesus paid that ultimate price on the Cross, which allows us to access God’s wisdom by the Holy Spirit who now resides in us. As we allow God’s peace to rule in our hearts, His peace will give us the keen discernment by which to restore our relationships and make wiser decisions.
- It was a Blood of Change
“… It anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
We come to the cross because it elicits change. It marks the end of life as we know it. Often, we don’t want to do what the cross stands for. What we really want is to have God remove the circumstances. We want Him to change or remove consequences so we won’t have to change.
Jesus came, however, to change us, and we can only change when our hearts change. Change comes not from ritualism or religion. Hearts are change by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.
The cross of Jesus was scandalous and horrible, yet glorious. Understand what He did on that cross for all of us — but especially for you. Then you will understand the unique power of divine forgiveness to bring man near to God and man near to man. When freely given away, this forgiveness brings the peace of Christ to our hearts. It renders insight and wisdom beyond natural wisdom. The cross empowers us to change, deny ourselves, take up our own cross and follow Him. Change happens at the cross.