I tried to see His love for me through it all, but all I could see was my sin, my shortcomings.
Too many times I'd heard people say if I continued in sin, then Jesus died in vain. After all He died to take away my sins. If I continued to live in them, what then was the point of His death?
I felt horrible that Jesus had to be in that place because of me. I hated that my wicked sin had caused Him to go to the cross. Every Easter it was the same, I was to remember what MY sin cost Jesus. Each time I struggled with the thoughts that if I had never sinned Jesus would not have had to die. I tried to get in touch. I wanted to feel the weight so that it would change me forever.
If I could somehow grasp the greatest sacrifice of all, maybe it would cause me to be better, serve more, be more grateful. Instead it just left me feeling guilty that I couldn't get in touch enough to be all those things.
I had no idea that the cross wasn't really about my sins. That is until grace knocked on the door of my heart. Grace opened a door into a room where love could be realized. New life stood outside waiting. Grace invited me in to see what the cross was really about.
It wasn't for my sin that Jesus went to the cross and died. It was for me. Sin was the ransom that had to be paid to get to me. A fierce love that would do whatever it took to take me back into the embrace of love took Jesus to the cross that fateful day. He wanted to love me. When He looked on me, it wasn't my sin He saw. It was me.
My sins never are and never will be His focus. My heart will be. Sin doesn't change the way He sees me. After all love keeps no record of wrongs. Sin keeps me from living in His embrace. With it comes shame. Shame is a barrier that keeps me from living in who He has made me to be. Jesus came to remove the barrier to bring me back to love. That's what the cross is about.
He came to heal the broken-hearted. He came to set the prisoners free from their captivity; to restore ashes into beauty. He came to give me what I was always meant to know; true love.
The cross was HUGE but without the resurrection it would just be another man who died on a cross. What set Jesus apart from the other men who were executed that day was that He conquered death, hell and the grave. He conquered it all. It was finished once and for all!
I was crucified with Christ. All that was required of me was finished. I don't have to try to be better on my own. I was raised with Him to new life. Christ now lives in me. He will live out of me. I am invited to live by the faith of the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.
The finished life of Christ in me, loving me as I am into who He knows me to be; that's the invitation of Easter. That I can feel. That I can picture. That I can rejoice over.
For by grace I have been saved.
©copyrighted: 2010; Julie L. Todd