The cross. We use it in logos, depict it in Easter ads, and wear it around our necks. We rejoice in it! It represents the death of Jesus and His resurrection. It tells us that because death could not hold Him, our living Lord enables us to partake in the power of His resurrection now, with the promise that one day our earthly bodies also will be resurrected.
In his letter to new believers in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 9:9)
But while we are exceedingly thankful for God’s mercy that saved us, how often do we pause to count the cost? Long before our Savior appeared on earth, a decision was made in heaven. The One who had dwelled with His Father from eternity past agreed to leave all that was Holy and righteous, to enter a world that was unholy and far from perfect. This One was a partaker in the creation of that world! “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth…” (Colossians 1:15-16)
The Creator became the created. The omniscient God was confined to a human body—a burden in itself, difficult to bear—while all the while there loomed on the horizon a dreaded event that Jesus fervently wished were over.
To His disciples Jesus said, “…I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50)
To His Father Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son…I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:1, 4)
He looked forward to remembered glory! Yet, not long after, Jesus knelt beneath the silvery leaves of an olive tree in Gethsemane and prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” His agony was so great that “His sweat fell like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:41-44)
Comes now, His enemies to the garden to arrest Him. Comes now, the physical pain and humiliation. Spat upon, slapped, beaten—trumped only by His spiritual pain. For on the cross of Calvary, for the first time ever, He was separated from His Father and made an object of His Father’s wrath. For us. To pay the price for our sin. For twice in 1 Corinthians, we are told that we are “bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23)
End of story? Not at all. Carried to a tomb, death could not hold him. For “on the first day of the week, very early in the morning” women came to his tomb only to find the huge stone in front of it rolled away. Then angels appeared, saying, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!” (Luke 24:1-6)
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how can some among you say that there is no resurrection from the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12)
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
“For if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
Our salvation is free. But let us never take for granted the incredible cost.
For further reflection read Psalm 22.