He Loves Me!
This devotional is a series of excerpts from Wayne Jacobsen's life changing book, He Loves Me! Download a PDF of this book by clicking the link below.
Day 34: What Really Happened at the Cross
The events on earth have been well-documented. All of the writers of the gospels tell of his inquisition before the religious leaders of Jerusalem, his trial before Pilate, his scourging by Roman soldiers, and his crucifixion on a cross. The humiliation and physical torture of death by crucifixion has been the subject of many sermons and books. We know well the agony he endured by being nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns pressed into his scalp and we also know how his agony intensified over the three hours he hung exposed in public view, mocked by his detractors.
The significance of that moment, however, is not so easy to understand. The appeasement-based view of the cross that most of us have understood goes something like this: Because Jesus lived a sinless life he did not deserve to die. However, he submitted himself to his Father's desire and as a sacrifice the guilt of our sins was laid upon him. Therefore God gave him the punishment our sins deserved. Our sentence has been satisfied with God so that we are now absolved for our sins and can stand justified before Almighty God.
Though this scenario may satisfy our inherent sense of shame for our own sins and failures, it only tells part of the story. If we go no further, this appeasement-based view of the cross describes Father and Son playing a divine version of good cop/bad cop. To keep the demanding judge of the universe from executing the full weight of his wrath on us, Jesus rushed onto the scene and threw himself in the way. God's wrath destroyed him and thus mollified his anger.
But that is only an earthly view of that incredible event. Scripture is laced with glimpses at a far fuller perspective. Here we see what happened in God-the work a Father and Son accomplished together, not to appease God's anger, but to cleanse us of sin. Their plan was not to punish sin, but destroy its power and offer a way for humanity to be rescued from the dregs of sin and recapture the relationship God had always wanted with his people.
What we see from his vantage point is not the story of a punished victim, but something far more magnificent.