In the pits of our hurting hearts, it almost feels as if the cross was meant for others more "worthy" than ourselves. I have felt this, and I am sure you have, too. But let me tell you, my friend, He knew you before the womb and set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5) and deemed you worthy of the cost. The lamb of God took your place. Your chains. Your sins. Your pain. He delights in showing you mercy... even after wandering far from home. Like a sheep who wandered from His shepherd, in joyful celebration, the shepherd carried His lost sheep home.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine plus the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? and when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep." I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not repent.
Make yourself at home, sit before the cross, and let's talk about why it is important.
The cross taught us about the gravity of our sin. The gravity of His love. It ran red for you, and yes, it ran red for me, too.
It was not the nails that held Jesus on the cross. It was you. It was me. It was our mistakes. It was our pain. It was our selfishness. It was our wandering hearts. He died at the highest cost for our sin knowing that the love may never be returned. Knowing that a life of deliberate sin would become the daily lifestyle of many. While others dwell in the life they "created for themselves," God is asking you, in the boldest way, to kneel before Him humbly knowing that His love has deemed you worthy.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up His spirit. At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split, and the tombs broke open.
In a sense, the cross of self-giving is the most profound to carry. There is hope in knowing that the weight we carry is never heavier than the chains that once held us captive. The cross has become our place of redemption. The place in which God's awaited promise was firmly established. The place in which God stood victorious as the light demolished the darkness. The sacred veil tore in half, and in the most glorifying and excruciating way, the wrath of God was satisfied.
Lay it down, my friend, the cost was too high to not. Lay down your pieces at the foot of the cross knowing that His love willingly ran red for you. He was pierced for your transgressions, crushed for your iniquities, the punishment that brought peace to you was on Him, and by His wounds, you are healed (Isaiah 53:5). His love was the reddest kind. Isn't this what He requires of us, too? That we recklessly love until it hurts?
"Long before you woke up this morning and long after you go to sleep tonight, the Spirit of God was circling you with songs of deliverance. He has been circling you since the day you were conceived, and He will circle you until the day you die. He is praying hard for you with ultrasonic groans that cannot be formulated into words, and those unutterable intercessions should fill you with an unspeakable confidence."
-The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson
Rise up, child, and run out of that grave! For it has no hold on you!