March 31, 2021
“Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:4-6
We love crosses. As Christians we hang them around our necks, put them on our t-shirts, and nail them up on the sides of churches…our church has three 30-foot-tall crosses standing on the front of our property for all to see. But a cross is not a beautiful thing. Our practice would seem very strange to someone from the first century. The cross was an instrument of torture, punishment, and death. It is like putting a hangman’s noose on your t-shirt or wearing an electric chair pendant around your neck. And yet, this Friday, the day Jesus died on the Cross, we refer to as “Good Friday.” Why?
Even though a cross is brutally ugly, the Cross of Jesus is eternally beautiful. It is beautiful to you and me because it represents the place of punishment that we deserved but never received. We deserve the cross and it was taken from us! The criminal who hung next to Jesus understood his cross…he understood his guilt; “We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:41). We must first see the ugliness of our cross before we can see the beauty in the Cross of Jesus. Only then can the remembrances of this Friday truly be called “Good.”
Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner. And remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Shane Cannon