Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The cross of Jesus Christ is the signature symbol of the central event in the history of civilization. Yet, today we depict the cross as common. Jewelers pound it into all sorts of finery so we can staple crosses to our ears and wear them around our necks.
Merchandisers manufacture this symbol of unlimited atonement into fuzzy things for our rearview mirrors or decorations for our gardens. From teacups to T-shirts, people have used the cross to corner the market on crassness. Department stores hawk chocolate-covered crosses for Holy Week. Baseball players and businessmen cross themselves before a big moment. The cross itself has become big business, but it was never intended to be some lucky trinket. This is profanity in the truest sense. Is it any surprise we have lost the wonder of what happened on Calvary?
The resurrection of Christ was the event that accomplished salvation and verified Christ's victory over death, but it was the cross of Jesus Christ that showed us the grace of God. Everything that God wants us to know about Himself comes together in those crossbeams.
Our entire purpose in life is to elevate the Cross. Think on Jesus Christ there. In your mind's eye, picture Him stretched out against the sky. What's He doing up there? Answer: He's subbing for you and me. He's taking God's wrath for your sin. He's satisfying the just demands of a holy God. He's paying the price that God's holiness requires so that you and I can be forgiven. In the place where our blood should have stained the ground, Jesus hung as our substitute.
You can't understand the Gospel until you understand this idea of substitution. Jesus' death was in the place of every person who has ever lived. I am in that line. You are too. Each of us deserves to die in payment for our own sin, but Jesus stepped in and took that penalty for each of us.
My heart overflows with gratitude when I think of Jesus Christ taking upon Himself the penalty that was mine to bear! Lord, You demonstrated such love that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Put yourself in the picture! Whenever you see a picture of Jesus on the cross, in your mind's eye picture yourself there. Picture your face in the place of Jesus' face. See your blood spilling down in place of His. You should have been there, but Jesus took your place.