He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less. – CS Lewis
Being a born and raised Christian, I have heard the story of Jesus dying on the cross for more than 100 times, most probably. Unique would be the word that describes the gospel best, indeed, but as a kid, I cannot comprehend the depth of His love and the significance behind that rugged tree, or in other words, the cross.
The story always goes from the Lord loves this world so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross, while we do not deserve salvation, so that we can be together with Him in heaven one day which on the third day He was raised from the grave, conquering death. While the Sunday school teacher went on telling the gospel, my heart questioned: “why Jesus had to die for me? What is the big deal with the cross? Why Christians are so worked up about this? What is so marvellous about Jesus?” These questions were hidden inside my heart for years, afraid if I asked I will be judged, not until one fine evening, these questions were answered.
However, I believe that evening, by the grace of God, was not knowledge or understanding that brought me to believe Jesus is God, it was the revelation that I am, me is a sinner. Therefore, I pray that you will encounter the same experience just as I had throughout this post.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
No one is righteous, that is written in Romans 3:10, I repeat no one is righteous. Not even one, each and every single soul-breathing humans on earth is sinners. Despite knowing this, it was hard for me to accept the fact I have sinned and I am in need of a Redeemer. It was like I was blinded when it was obvious, seeing how messed up I was inside: empty, lost, angry, depressed, and confused.
That ‘predestined’ evening, as I was struggling with hatred, thinking of one is not worthy of forgiveness, I saw my own faults. My vices were set before my own eyes, realising that I am a mess too. That moment was where tears started rolling down my cheeks as I was too embarrassed to show it, I covered my face with my long hair. It was the day I saw myself for who I really am: broken and shattered, expecting too much and in return receive much disappointments. That evening was the day I knew the significance behind the rugged tree and the day I knew I need Jesus.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We all deserve eternal death but because God loves us so much, He gave His one and only beloved child to be the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have a relationship with God, without in bound to sin and eternal death. Jesus has paid the price for people like us who are like the soldiers who took pleasure in mocking Jesus, like the witnesses who cared more about the approval of man rather of God, and like one of the disciples who was faithless and who was a coward. Jesus even knew what we will eventually do to Him but, amidst all that, He remained faithful. He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf so that in Him, we can become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Take a moment and think about this!! Jesus, a God who was sitting on the throne decided to leave the pleasure of HEAVEN, let me repeat, THE PLEASURE OF HEAVEN, in order to have a relationship with us. He left the position as a God and became a servant for us. He ate with sinners, talked with them, and loves them – He did not condemn the sinners but save them. I mean think about this one more time, who would have done that?
If we were good people, that would be a reasonable decision to take but who are we? Every person who persecuted Jesus back then is not any different than every one of us today. Imagine if Jesus came down to Earth in 2017, I bet the public, including myself, would call Him crazy when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” However, Jesus was still looking into our eyes and takes upon OUR cross without complaining at all.
Now, think about the cross. The cross is the sentence for criminals. By criminals, I mean where the public perceive them as dangerous, insignificant and deadly people like serial killers kind. The Pilate stood up and asked which one you, the witness, would choose – Jesus or Barabbas. Barabbas was the leader of a rebellion, committed murder before (Luke 23:19) and Jesus, on the other hand, had only been healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching the lost, feeding the hungry, opening blind eyes, and opening deaf ears. I did not know what is wrong with the crowd back there, they judged poorly. They chose Jesus to be sentenced for the cross instead of Barabbas. Even the Pilate was confused and asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” (Matthew 27:23). Being chosen by the crowd, Jesus stood still in silence and faithfully took OUR cross – knowing that path would lead to pain beyond comprehension: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Can you imagine that Jesus was spit on? He was a God, remember, yet now He had to stoop so low and being spitted on yet He remained silent. He was punched, whipped, slapped, nailed to the rugged tree, and abused and still He was silent. He was betrayed by His own beloved followers and still He was silent. He was mocked, slandered, and challenged, “If you are the Son of God come down from the cross,” and all He did was pray for the mockers for forgiveness. How can He still love His own bullies, mockers, betrayers, you name it, scandalously like that.
Jesus has given His life to save all us despite all of the trials and tribulations, there is no greater love such as this. How can this kind of love does not changes a person? I believe once we understand how much He loves us, never will we see ourselves as insignificant human beings for at the glimpse of that rugged tree, we know we are deeply loved. For the cross was known as a symbol for criminals who have done evil beyond comprehension and now, it has become a symbol of God’s incomprehensible love. When we feel His love, I know our lives will change 180⁰ to the better.
Please email me if you have a prayer request or in need of a friend to talk to. I will make sure to response it as quickly as possible. I love you guys but Jesus loves you more.