During Lent, church folks think about the Cross. What a thing to consider: an instrument of torture and death.
Many of us don’t like to think of our Lord on the Cross. It is too painful, too much a reminder of my own failings, that indeed I put Jesus on the Cross because I needed that sacrifice.
I know that there are many people who struggle with the idea that Jesus needed to die for them. Folks think that their lives aren’t all that bad that someone would need to die for their sins.
The problem is that the penalty for a sin, any sin, be it big or small, is death.
In the Old Testament, God allowed the Jews to substitute an animal for one’s sins, but Jesus makes it very clear that He is the Lamb of God, the greatest – the final – sacrifice that makes all other sacrifices unnecessary. If Jesus is your sacrifice, if you claim Him as Lord and Savior, then there are no more sacrifices needed. Which brings me back to the Cross.
I was thinking how nice it would have been for Jesus to come to earth, teach us what needed to be taught and then simply leave. No pain, no death, just all the right information so that we could live the right sort of lives before God, pleasing Him with our obedience and living how we are called to live by Jesus – serving others, loving others and even engaging in the type of costly love that Jesus demonstrated.
The problem is that then our sins haven’t been taken care of, haven’t been washed away in Christ’s sacrifice. So not only did we need Jesus to come to us, but also we still need – at least I still need – Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
The trouble is that the Cross can be viewed as a terrible injustice, which it was, but it was more than that. The Cross is a symbol of how much God loves us, in that He allowed Himself to be killed on the Cross so that our sins could be with Him. Thus the empty tomb is not something just for Jesus, but it is for all who trust and believe in Him.
Union Presbyterian Church is scheduled to mark Good Friday with a Tenebrae service 7 p.m. Thursday. We will watch “The Passion of the Christ” at 7 p.m. on Good Friday. Admission is free, and we’d love to have you.
The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.