Christians celebrate something very odd – the death of a Jewish man on a Roman torture device. We come together on Sunday to meditate on the death of a man whom we have never seen. To outside ears, it sounds bleak. In reality, it is the beginning of something more wonderful than the world has ever known – peace with God and eternal life with him because God raised Jesus from the dead.
Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross shows us God’s love for us, the lengths he went to deal with our sin and rebellion, and the way to new life that is found only in him. Jesus’ death, while a bleak reality, is central to the Christian faith because we know what happened three days later.
We can never attach too much importance to the atoning death of Christ. It is the leading fact in the word of God, on which the eyes of our soul ought to be ever fixed. Without the shedding of his blood, there is no remission of sin. It is the cardinal truth on which the whole system of Christianity hinges. Without it the Gospel is an arch without a key-stone, a fair building without a foundation, a solar system without a sun… This, after all, is the master-truth of Scripture, that “Christ died for our sins.” To this let us daily return. On this let us daily feed our souls…” (Gal. 6:14.) (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, “Matthew 26”).
As we think upon the cross and what it means for us, here are eleven passages to meditate on. May they renew and refresh your understanding of God’s love for you in the cross of Christ.
1.“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
2.“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 5:8 and 6:23).
3.“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
4.“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:17-18).
5.“And he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called ‘The Place of a Skull,’ which in Aramaic is called Golgotha… When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:17 and 30).
6.“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him…
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:2 and 5-6).
7.“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:18-19).
8.“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
9.“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
10. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified… Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin” (Heb. 10:12-14 and 18).