“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’” Galatians 3:13 NLT
Every time we break the bread and drink the cup we remember Jesus giving himself for our sins. So many thoughts race through our minds. The love of the Father. The sacrifice of the Savior. The grace of redemption. The hope of the atonement. So many emotions fill our hearts. The sorrow for sin. The joy for redemption. The delight for the mystery. The gratitude for reconciliation. Within our hearts and minds is stirred a hunger for knowing God more and deeper than ever before. How could He love us so? When we were so undeserving? Knowing what He has done for us, how could we ever say “no” to Him?
And yet the cross communicates more than just the love of God and the possibility of salvation, it tells us some things about ourselves, some things that we might rather not hear. Consider this list, adapted from John Stott’s commentary on Galatians.
- We are sinners under the righteous curse of God’s law who cannot save ourselves
- Christ bore our sin and curse because we could gain release from them in no other way
- If we could have been forgiven by our own good works there would have been no cross
- Christ on the cross is bearing our sin, suffering our curse, paying our debt, and dying our death
Stott concludes: “Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.” (The Message of Galatians, p. 179).
Maybe this is why, as Stott suggests, preaching the cross of Jesus is not popular in some circles. Preaching about the sins of others makes us feel good about our superior accomplishments. Preaching a legalistic obedience fosters a sense of “we really can do it ourselves if we just try harder and get it all right.” Preaching Christ crucified puts us in our place.
Every time I break the bread and drink the cup I remember Jesus giving himself for my sins. And that is a good thing. I need to remember.
I need Thee every hour!