It drew me with an attraction I could barely resist, and yet I did. Like a thousand magnets all pointed in my direction, its drawing power inundated me, I could feel it to my core and yet, I stayed away. I couldn’t give in; and for a very long time, I didn’t.
It wasn’t electrons or atoms that exerted such power over me, it was love. Pure, perfect love and I was terrified of it, repulsed by it, and drawn toward it all at the same time. What was I to do?
I was terrified because I knew the cost and I did not want to surrender my life. I was repulsed because it was too good for me, I knew I was not worthy and never could be. I was drawn because it meant freedom, but my chains were familiar, and familiarity is comfortable.
Yet, it drew me, lovingly, consistently, gently; always offering hope, peace, joy, love, and worth. Then one day, overwhelmed by my inability to achieve the life I wanted, the hope I needed, and the future I desired, and recognizing that only in this one thing could I have it all, I made a step in its direction.
In that moment, it was as if every positive and loving force in the universe invaded my soul and with that one step, I found myself grasping the cross with every fiber of my being. Not just any cross, but the cross where Jesus hung, dying.
I knew it was my sin that put him there. I knew he didn’t deserve any of this. I knew he did this because he loved the Father and because he loved me. If I could apologize, if I could take back all my sin, I would; but I can’t. This has to happen if I am to be set free. I knew that he would not blame me, and yet, I felt like I needed blamed. I felt like I needed the punishment he was enduring. I felt like I should be the one dying. Somehow this wasn’t right, yet at the same time, it was the only thing that was right.
Jesus died for me. He endured the cross for my sin; and that is why I must go, I must go and settle the matter. I must go to the cross and let his blood cleanse me. I must go the cross and die with him. And so must you.
Come and die, it called to me. Come to me and live, Jesus cried. I must die with Jesus if I am ever to live with him. I know that if I die with him, I will live with him; but I must die, the cross is a tool of death. I must go to the cross to understand what it cost God to give me a free gift of salvation by grace through faith in the one and only Son of God. I must go to the cross and put to death my sinful self.
If I want my sins washed away, there is only one way, there is only one cleansing fountain, and it flows from the body of Jesus, and it flows at the cross, there is no other place. I must let the blood wash over me. The cross must become so real, that I can smell the metallic aroma and I can feel the stickiness as my tears mix with the blood at the foot of the cross; only then can I understand – as fully as my finite brain will allow – the cost of my salvation: the cross of Christ.
The cross; where truth and lie collide. Where freedom and bondage clash. Where hope is born. Where forgiveness explodes into reality. Where love flows. Where grace is bestowed. Where death is defeated. Where victory is assured.
It was not a particular sin that brought me here, no, it was a thousand thousand sins. It was my entire being, it was who I was, and who I hated being. It was the brutality of my brokenness, the darkness of my soul, the reality of my lostness, the pain of my heartache, the depth of my despair, and the horror of my hopelessness. My entire being was dead in sin and darkness, and Jesus’ love called out to me from the cross, called out to rescue me.
We sing the songs: What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus, what can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus! O, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus. But do we take the blood seriously? Our Lamb was slain, and as our great high priest, he, himself, entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption, and cleansing our consciences (Hebrews 9:11-14).There is no guilt, because there is no longer condemnation.
The cross is no longer repulsive, it is my glory and my joy. The cross is beautiful to me. It’s ruggedness. It’s gore. It’s brutality. It’s reality. The cross is where my Savior became sin for me so that I might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The cross is where Jesus died for me. And on that first Easter morning he rose to new life, which is the guarantee of my eternal life with him.
Have you gone to the cross? Have you done business with Jesus at the cross? There’s room at the cross for you. There’s room for cleansing, for healing, for restoration and reconciliation. Will you go, will you be washed in the blood?
Oh, victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever, he sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood. He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.