“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
Today we have a huge emphasis on the fact that Jesus died for you, that God loves you. We hear it all the time. God loves you so much that He gave His Son to die for you. He wants to redeem you. He wants to save you. He wants to forgive your sins. He wants to take you to Heaven. This is our central message. How many of you believe this? I certainly do.
All of these things are true, but you and I are the secondary reason Jesus went to the cross? While the cross included us, the cross really was for God.
We focus so much on what the cross means to us that we forget, or perhaps never realize what the cross meant to God. The cross was God’s idea. The plan for our salvation originated in the mind of God. No one informed God. No one gave God this plan. No one advised God in this plan. It was all him.
Why did Jesus have to die? - To absorb the wrath of God
If God were not just, there would be no demand for his Son to suffer and die. And if God were not loving, there would be no willingness for his Son to suffer and die. But God is both just and loving. His love is willing to meet the demands of his justice.
Romans 3:23 tells us… “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
There are no small sins. Here’s why: because God is not small. The seriousness of the insult rises with the dignity of the one insulted. The Creator of the universe is infinitely worthy of respect, and admiration and loyalty.
Since God is just, he does not sweep these sins under the rug of the universe. He feels a holy wrath against them. They deserve to be punished, and he has made this clear: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). To not punish us would be unjust.
Imagine someone has committed a crime against you, or your loved ones. You would be at the court demanding justice.
But here’s what is truly amazing…Jesus accepts God’s wrath on our behalf. Jesus doesn’t cancel God’s wrath, he absorbs it. He diverts it from us to himself.
Isn’t this amazing? Jesus absorbing God’s wrath on our behalf is so important to understand. We will never stand in awe of being loved by God until we reckon with the seriousness of our sin and the justice of God’s his wrath against us. But when, by grace, we see our unworthiness, then we can look at the suffering and death of Jesus.
Jesus took my place. Jesus took your place on the cross. What a wonderful God we serve.
Today’s Challenge: Throughout the day keep the cross on your mind. Remember what Christ has done for you. Offer you gratitude for his sacrifice and your salvation.
- What did the cross mean to God?
- What did the cross mean to Jesus?
- What does the cross mean to us?
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