See him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
O the worm-wood and the Gall! O the pangs his soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; learn of Christ to bear the cross.
. . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
On this side of the cross, we call this day good. We cling to the cross, surrendering there, surveying its wonder. Amazed by love that held our Savior to a rugged, tortuous death. Taking our place. The beatings, the demeaning slurs and slaps and mockeries all weigh down this redeemed heart.
As I stand under the shadow of the cross today, I feel relieved that the narrative doesn’t end there. What is my faith built on? Do I really surrender at the cross? Or do I surrender to His love? Do I surrender when I find out the tomb is empty or when I see Him ascend in the clouds? Do I promise to love Him over breakfast on the beach, when He asks that searching question: “Do you love me?”
What does my love and devotion look like? Is it ritual or real? Is it messy or measured? Does my sin hold His attention or does His love hold mine?
I have contemplated the cross year after year, and you’d think I’d have more answers than questions. But tonight, I wonder why do we cling to the cross, why do we relive the suffering of Jesus? He demonstrated and declared, “It is finished!” Why can’t I just fast forward to the sunrise and the joy that was set before Him? As I walked to my car, after the Good Friday service, a song poured into my heart and onto my lips:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
What is your hope built on?