But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5)

REACHING FORWARD NORMALLY REQUIRES LOOKING AHEAD, BUT THERE IS A SENSE IN WHICH IT ALSO REQUIRES LOOKING BACK. We will not reach forward to God as lovingly as we should if we don’t regularly remember the crucifixion of His Son for our sins. If, as I believe, gratitude for grace is the most powerful motivator in the world, then the cross of Christ, the greatest act of God (and, on our part, the most undeserved), should move us the most.

Yet as powerful as the cross is to move us in the right direction, we tend to forget it. It fades from our minds. But that is the way it is with all things that are important to us. If their reality and their importance are not constantly refreshed, they fade. And so it’s no surprise that God designed the Lord’s Supper to remind us on the first day of every week that He gave His Son to die for us.

Anytime our passion for God begins to fade, the most important thing to do is return to the cross. The old, familiar hymn said it very well: “When my love to Christ grows weak, when for deeper faith I seek, then in thought I go to thee, Garden of Gethsemane. / When my love for man grows weak, when for stronger faith I seek, Hill of Calvary! I go to thy scenes of fear and woe. / Then to life I turn again, learning all the worth of pain, learning all the might that lies in a full self-sacrifice” (J. R. Wreford).

It is, of course, the vicarious nature of Christ’s death that exerts such an emotional force upon us — He died in our place, for our sins. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him.”

Going back to the cross is a painful thing to do. No sensitive human being could think of the agony that was involved in death by crucifixion and not be gut-wrenched, but to know that our own sins made it necessary for God’s Son to endure such torment makes us want to turn away from the scene in shame and sorrow. But there is no other way for us to be healed of what hurts us.

“For him to see me mended I must see him torn” (Luci Shaw).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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