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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Looking to the Cross, Part One

With Easter upon us, I can't help but think about the bittersweet account of the cross.  The more I think about, the more I am humbled by the great sacrifice God made for us, a world of sinners.  While preparing for my Sunday School lesson last week, I was brought to tears by the realization of Calvary and all that it entails.  I was also convicted by how often I take it for granted, even without realizing that I'm doing it.

This week, in honor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I want to draw our attention back to the cross.  And in so doing, I want to focus on three words, all of which are definitions of the Hebrew word "nasa".  The three words are carry, bear and forgive.  So, without further ado, let's begin.

According to my online dictionary, the most basic meaning of the word "carry" is "to hold or support while moving".  We know, from the Biblical account of the crucifixion, that Jesus was forced to carry His cross up the hill of Golgotha.  What we often fail to realize, however, is the weight of that cross.  First of all, we must consider Jesus' physical state.  We know He had not slept the night before because He had been in prayer in Gethsemane all night.  Who knows the last time He had slept.  Add to that the mistreatment from the soldiers.  He was beaten with rods, scourged with the cat-of-nine-tails, punched and smacked, His beard plucked from His face.  And after all of that, the weight of the cross was laid on His back.

Jason and I heat our home with a wood stove.  Our furnace hasn't worked in several years, so the wood stove is our only source of heat.  That means that cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood are simply a part of life for us.  And in the winter, each day's routine includes a trip or two out to the exterior wood shed to bring in loads of firewood for the inside wood box.  Because of Jason's hectic work schedule, this unpleasant task is usually left to me.  I really don't mind the chore except when we have very green wood. . . especially oak.  Why?  Because it's extremely heavy and multiplies the number of trips I have to make because I can only carry a few pieces at a time.  I have no idea what type of wood the cross was made from, nor do I know the exact dimensions, but I can guarantee you that it was heavy.  Is it any wonder Jesus stumbled?

An even more sobering fact, however, is that the weight of the cross was nothing compared to the weight of our sin.  Jesus wasn't just carrying a piece of wood that day.  He was literally carrying all of our wrongs.  Remember the Greek god, Atlas, who was said to have held the world on his shoulders?  Big deal!  The weight of the world is nothing compared to the weight of the sin of the world.  The sinless Lamb of God took all the sin of the world (past, present and future) and carried it on His back up Calvary's hill.  If you want to see a picture of love, my friend, there it is!

 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. - II Corinthians 5:21

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