"The unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8) centers in the events at Calvary. The Captain of our salvation tasted of death for every man (Heb. 2:9), and walks with us in the shadow of death that we might possess abundant life. The composer, Charles H. Gabriel, aptly wrote:
I stand amazed in the presence, Of Jesus the Nazarene, And
wonder how He could love me, A sinner, condemned, unclean.
Giving up the riches of heaven to
save poor sinners like you and me is the heart and essence of the gospel's glad
tidings. We behold the glory of Christianity in the life and teachings of Jesus
and in the changed lives of those loyal to His
gracious cause. One grand tribute given to the Savior was enunciated by Phillip Brooks. In part it reads:
"Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today, He is the centerpiece of the column of progress...I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as has that One Solitary Life!"
For the unspeakable gift of Jesus we should be willing to die to self and to sin. We should be ready to live up to the glory of God, as we rejoice in the Cross of Christ. As the inspired apostle Paul wrote, "But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14). We should never neglect this great salvation, but rather pursue it with grateful hearts. Should hardship and suffering come our way, we can endure it, knowing that we have fellowship with the suffering our Redeemer endured for our sakes. William Cowper wrote:
O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heav'nly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
The depths of God's love were clearly
seen in the unfathomed gift of His Son, Jesus, who lay down His life for His
friends and foes alike. Spared not by the heavenly Father, but delivered up
for us all because we were sinners (Rom. 8:
32). Jesus Christ became obedient even to the shameful, painful and lonely death upon the cross at Golgotha. What greater love can there be?
The goodness of God leads us to
repentance (Rom. 2:4) and should propel us into an obedient and grateful life.
But could it be that the apathetic attitude of the followers of Jesus that last
night in Gethsemane is still reflected in the indifference many Christians exhibit
now? Jesus had little support and comfort from His disciples that night. In
agony, Jesus wept alone. The betrayal of Judas and the subsequent denial of
Peter are still often manifested in the conduct of
those who claim to be His friends. The weakness of Pilate, the mockery of a trial, the taunting of the mob -- attitudes such as these had are still prevalent in the shallow nature of modern religious leaders and the cowardice of many modern disciples of the Lord.
Jesus Christ had our sins placed upon Him. Willingly, He became our sin-bearer and endured the painful, humiliating display of the rigged trial and cruel cross. In loneliness, Jesus was projected between heaven and earth so that fountain for cleansing and for sin could be opened on our behalf. An old favorite hymn says:
In the old rugged cross, Stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see;
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
Since mankind cannot be redeemed
with silver and gold, or by vain traditions, or by parental inheritance, or
Creator has made it possible -- through the blood of the cross -- for us to
cry, "Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6) and know the cleansing
power our souls so desperately crave. Because the Son of God walked victoriously through the dark valley of death, we can have sunshine in our souls today. Let each one of us "glory in the cross" of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By Johnny Ramsey, in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 54, No. 41, Oct. 14, 2005.
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