2nd Wednesday of Lent
In the name of Jesus our Savior and Cross-bearer, dear friends in Christ. It would normally work like this: the person was sentenced to death. There would be a procession. A soldier would ride on horseback to lead the procession. Behind him there would be a herald announcing to everyone the reason for the crucifixion. He would carry a white board on which the crime was written. Then a handful of soldiers, usually four, would prod and beat the person sentenced to death on the route to the place of crucifixion. And the criminal would be forced to carry his own torture instrument, the cross. What grace is this, that Jesus, though innocent, did this for us! (read text)
What grace is this? He probably had nothing to eat or drink since the night before, He didn’t have any rest during the night, He was mistreated by the members of the Sanhedrin, He was scourged and mistreated by the soldiers, He was tired and exhausted from the trial and the ordeal. Fatigued, worn out, and beat, yet… He kept going.
What grace is this? The almighty Creator who fashioned the mountains with His word stoops to bear a cross of wood! The One who calms storms with the word of His mouth stoops to bear a cross of wood! The One for whom and through whom all of creation exists stoops to bear a cross of wood! Why does He do it? He bears the cross of wood to pay for the sins of all!
How much do I value this grace? Do I make this grace something cheap by neglecting those close to me? Do I devalue this grace by being complacent and smug about God and about God’s Word? Do I turn this grace into something worth little by questioning God when my petty little problems come? Do I make this grace a cheap thing?
Oh no! Then, what grace is this? Grace greater than all! Grace that kept going! Jesus didn’t call on angels to come to His aid. He didn’t strike dead those who wanted Him dead. He didn’t even use divine power to march triumphantly to the altar of the cross. Why? He bore the full brunt of God’s judgment… for you. He carried the full impact of hell’s fury…for you. He bore on Himself the sins of the world…for you! He stooped to bear the cross of wood for YOU!
What grace that saw you! What grace that saw you and kept going! What grace that knew we couldn’t do it, so He did it all! What grace that knew we didn’t deserve forgiveness, so He forgave our sins totally and freely! What grace that knew we were heading for hell, so He made heaven our inheritance!
Jesus stooped to bear a cross of wood for you! He gives you this grace! Grace that gives you peace, your salvation has been taken care of! Grace that gives you joy, your God has prepared heaven for you! Grace that gives you confidence, God is on your side. Grace that shows you true love, your God will do anything and everything, including bearing a cross, to give you eternal life!
What amazing grace that stooped to bear a cross of wood…for YOU!