Are you ever blown away by the gospel? Do you ever cringe when you think on or imagine the brutality of what Christ endured both before and during his time on the cross? Or does the intensity of it all escape your thoughts, leaving you dulled to the horror and extent of Jesus’ sacrifice for you? These are some questions that I have been asking myself today.
Each Tuesday morning some of the fourth grade students from local elementary schools come to our church for one hour during the school day. During this hour they are taught from the scriptures, learn memory verses, play games, sing songs, etc. It is a truly amazing opportunity and an immense blessing. I have the privilege of teaching one of these classes. My class is made up of three boys, whom I have become rather fond of. Throughout this school year we have been working through the Bible. We began at creation, and now, as we near Easter, are exploring Jesus’ crucifixion.
Having grown up in a Christian home, being active in my church, and being homeschooled, I have grown up hearing the gospel, which is a true privilege. My WRE (weekly religious education) kids have not had that. So this morning when told them the story of Jesus’ beating, the cat o’ nine tails, and the crucifixion process, I watched their reactions. The boys, all about ten-years old were wincing, cringing, and shocked by the details that I was describing. They were blown away by what Jesus endured. This got me thinking.
Do I take what Jesus endured too lightly? Do I sometimes take for granted the fact that he was beaten with leather, glass and bone to the point where he was not even recognizable? Do I? Do you? Do we sometimes hear that Jesus died for us, and fail to grasp just how intense and excruciating this death really was? I am sad to say that sometimes this is the case with me. Sometimes I breeze over the gruesome details of his death and instead focus on the happy ending. Why? Maybe because it is painful to come to the realization that I deserve that death. It hurts to think of and picture myself in Christ’s place, which is where I deserve to be. I deserve to be the one beaten with the cat o’ nine tails. I am the one who deserves to be spat at. I am the one that deserves to drag a massive cross — an emblem of shame– up a mountain in humiliation. I am the one who deserves to die on a cross. And so are you, as harsh as that may sound. But no, Christ took our place. How awesome is that?!
Today I was reminded of the extent of Christ’s sacrifice, and the depths of his grace. I was once again brought to the startling realization of the pain, ugliness, and disgrace brought about by sin. I was once again shown the love, glory, and magnificence of my savior. And what did it take? Three ten-year-old boys. What will it take for you?