“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
The death of Jesus on the cross was an event he shrank back from, so horrendous was the prospect. In Gethsemane, “horror and dismay overcame him, and he said…‘My heart is ready to break with grief’” (Mark 14:4 NEB). Three things brought on this horror, and one of them was not the physical suffering he would endure in being crucified.
First he was to become sin. The ugliness, the stench, the putridness, the repulsiveness of sin, these he would become. Think of being lowered into a pit of liquid cow manure, its surface roiling with maggots, the stench overwhelming; and as you go down into it, it gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, and then lungs, engulfing you in its terribleness. This is nothing compared to Christ’s becoming sin for us, the evil of it entering His very being as a human.
Then He was under the righteous wrath of God, which had been stored up from the beginning of time against all the sin ever committed and all that will be committed. This unimaginably immense weight of wrath came down on Jesus, crushing him.
And third, Jesus was torn out of the relationship of the Trinity, the perfect place of peace, the flawless unity, the beautiful balance, the wonderful warmth that had existed from eternity. As He became sin and had wrath poured out upon Him, He could not stay in that intimate relationship. His Father turned away and the fabric was ripped, the essence smashed, the unity destroyed. This separation brought the greatest suffering of all in His sacrifice, not only to Jesus, but to the Father and the Spirit as well.
The amount of horror for Jesus in this experience was immeasurably great. It is an infinite suffering borne by an infinite heart of love under an infinite wrath. And it brought about an infinite solution for finite beings. Only a God who is Love could do this. Only Jesus could be our Savior, both God and man, willing to go through such suffering, which is beyond the comprehension of even the angels who live in the presence of God. And He did this to save us, who are lower than angels, sin-warped rebels who fight viciously against Him, rejecting His way and serving Satan and self. But now He has given us the possibility of being rescued from the dominion of darkness and becoming His children. Hallelujah!
Let us stand in ever-growing awe at the amazing, unbelievable, contra-conditional and compassionate sacrifice made by the Living God to save us who are captives of death, of the devil and of destruction. May this awe transform our mind, will and emotions so that we thirst after God and eagerly spend time with Him every day.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, forgive me for trivializing your immense sacrifice to redeem us, your evil enemies. I praise you for your great love, your deep commitment, your incomprehensible grace. Help me to live in the light of your mighty and infinite love and to love you back in consistent obedience. May your light and love shine out of my life today, bringing you ever-increasing glory. Amen.”
–from the devotional book EDIFIED