“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVA
I wonder if we have ever really understood this verse? To some extent, I recently had my mind and heart opened to it and I found it indescribably moving.
I want you to imagine with me all the worst things that you can possibly think of that humanity has done. The murders, rapes, wars, holocaust, tortures, prisoner of war camps, human sacrifice. The total degradation that mankind has sought to inflict on his fellow man. The gruesome imaginations of mankind down the centuries, some of the tyrants and totally depraved psychotics that have, and still do, exist. In our present day, we have seen the likes of ISIS, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Leaders of DPRK, and many more.
I know this may seem very morbid, but pause for a moment and think of the horror of it all and then think that all of this was to descend upon the shoulders of Jesus at Calvary. Can you imagine the scene? When I watch the television, I have to turn away or close my eyes when certain scenes come on as I cannot bare to watch them, but Jesus had to receive the screams of all of earths’ generations and bare them on Himself. Imagine for someone who was sinless, who was pure, who was holy to have to receive such a weight of sin. It would have been crushing to His spirit. The torture would have been beyond description. Think though, that He not only bore the weight of sin, He became this vile personification of sin itself. The physical pain of crucifixion would have been pain enough, but the spiritual, mental and emotional torture of this would have been beyond description.
Then, as I thought, if it wasn’t already enough, add to this scene of devastation, my sin. Let me go up to the cross and put my sin upon His already overburdened shoulders. My friends, just look at His face, how humbling is that? Pilot rightly said ‘Behold, the man’. What I see when I look at His sacrifice, is an overwhelming love of Jesus for us. A love that drains away all personal ambition and aspiration and that compels us to follow and love in return. A love that permeates every fibre of our being that is the life source of who we are and who He wants us to be. A love that commands us to love our fellow man with the same selflessness that He loved them irrespective of how they are.
In addition to this, He now gives us His righteousness. We become the righteousness of Christ. The contrast is enormous, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, from filthy to clean, from sinfulness to holiness, from sinner to saint. What a glorious transformation, what a wonderful hope He has placed in us. The wonder of the cross should always be central to our lives. In the face of such sacrifice and such an offer, the scripture rightly says “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,” Hebrews 2:3 NKJV. Thank God that sin, death and hell could not hold Him and He rose triumphant over all having accomplished our redemption in the process.
We must never forget the cross, it is central to all we believe and all that we are and should be. Without the cross there is no crown, but with hearts full of love and gratitude to God we should assimilate and live in the full triumph of the resurrection.
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