For years I knelt there, you know, at the foot of the cross. I gazed so long and hard at my Savior’s mangled body that I knew every line, rivulet of blood, and bruise on His body. The patches of His beard that had been ripped out, yeah, I knew the size and shape of each. I know that He hung there for me. I drove the nails and spit on the face of the Son of God.
So long I gazed that I was constantly reminded of why He had to die. He had to die because of my lust, my lying lips, my selfishness, my lazines, and the list goes on for a long while. The songs I sang to worship Him riddled me with guilt, after all “it was my sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished”.
I saw in the face of Jesus, mercy, grace, love, hope, forgiveness and joy. But I also saw pain, suffering, abandonement, forsakenness. I saw everything I gained and I also saw the cost.
I saw the heavens darkened. I felt the ground shake. I heard the curtain tear. This was good news? But it was my cross, my shame, my suffering that He took.
At last, when I could bear it no more, I looked away. I wandered for what seemed like a lifetime. I ended up in a garden filled with graves. In those graves where men, women and children. One day, I suppose, I would take my place in one of them.
But then I walked up to and empty tomb. There was a Roman seal on the stone, but it had been broken.
I mustered up the courage and stepped inside. The tomb was empty save for one artifact. On the cold stone slab, there stood a cup. The cup had an inscription that read, “God’s Wrath”. I looked at the cup for a long time. Then, knowing the day would come eventually in which I would have to drink, I took the cup in hand and raised it to my lips.
What happened next has changed my life. As I lifted this cup of God’s Wrath to my lips I found it empty! There was not one drop left.
Suddenly it all made sense. The Cross of Jesus is a sweetly brutal reminder of the cost of my redemption. But it is the empty tomb that gives me hope. He is not on the cross, He is ALIVE! All God’s wrath toward me, Jesus took it. My hope is not in a crushed body but in a risen one. My destination is not a grave, it is eternal life. I spent so long at the cross that I missed the hope of the resurrection.
I take many frequent walks through that garden now. As I stop and contemplate the empty tomb, I hear these words in my mind, “He is not here, He is risen.”
I invite you to stop looking at the cross and take a walk with me, it just might change your life too!