When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
I’m heading overseas shortly. Not for long, but an International flight will be involved. So as a result I will queue up more than once as I process through check in, immigration, security, customs etc. I can’t circumvent these steps, it’s part of the journey to enable me to visit a distant land. My destination and purpose of my trip (work!) will keep me patiently queuing and standing and waiting. I’ll endure it all so I can get to my destination. I know that on the other side is the plane for me to board and the country for me to visit.
During Lent, we can give pause to think of Jesus on the before side of the Cross, His death and His resurrection. How must He have felt? How must He have longed to avoid it? To avoid the pain, the suffering, the horror. Jesus, while fully God was also fully man, so this journey to the Cross would not have been without fear or anguish. Yet He pressed on, He continued. He rode into the City of Jerusalem knowing He was days away from arrest and crucifixion. He shared Passover with His disciples knowing that this side of the Cross it was the last meal that He would share with them.
Why did He stay on this journey to the Cross? Why did He endure it?
For us! For you, for me! Out of love for us and love for the Father. For our redemption. How incredible, what a sacrifice that Jesus would endure all of this, for us, to restore us as sons and daughters of God.
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ” (Hebrews 12:2)
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
As a child I was enchanted with the books from the Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis. The world of Narnia, Aslan and the adventures of the children intrigued me. Even now, as I read these books again as an adult, I can’t help but be captivated by the world of Narnia that greeted Lucy as stepped through the door of the wardrobe – a world so unlike that of what she had left.
This weekend as we celebrate Easter we look at another Door that takes us from where we are today into another world, another realm, another reality. This door offers us salvation, eternity, life restored and relationship with God, the Creator of all. This door however isn’t part of a mere wardrobe taking a child into a fantasy world. For us, this door is Jesus – Son of God, crucified on a cross. And the world is not a fantasy – it is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The way to eternal life, the way to God is offered to us all through the sacrifice and death of our Lord Jesus on the Cross. His crucifixion all those years ago is the one time for all times sacrifice for us. The cross did what we could not do ourselves – it gave us the right to talk with, love and live with God. The Lord Jesus Christ’s death took away all our sins and His Resurrection gave us life, a new life and a new identity as a new person. His death gave us a life of freedom – free from guilt, no more reproaching ourselves and most importantly an opportunity to grow in relationship with God.
The door is always there, it is just up to us to walk through it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze
I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.
In this thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.
There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
Oh, dearly, dearly has He loved,
And died our sins to bear;
We trust in His redeeming blood,
And life eternal share.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might from our sins be freed,
Saved by His precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin,
He only could divine life give
And dwell Himself within.
(Written by Cecil Alexander, 1878)