Rev. Mike Shiery
Pilgrim Bible Church
261 Pine St., Cedar Springs, MI 49319
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8 (NKJV)
As we come into the Easter season, we are again brought up short at the sight and story of the Cross. It is a story that is simultaneously gory and glorious. The evidence of the depravity of mortal man that would impale the innocent Son of God on a wooden crossbeam is not only matched but overwhelmed by the evidence that Jesus loved sinful humanity enough to volunteer to sacrifice Himself for us.
The Cross is God’s vivid illustrations of His love for us. Knowing that the majority of humanity would reject His gift of love, He still chose to send His only begotten Son to pay the price for our sin. The story simply overwhelms us. It is almost more than our finite minds can grasp, because it is so opposite of what most people would do. We despise the people who have despised us, and turn on those who have misused or mistreated us. But Jesus, while suffering untold agonies on the cross, offered no recriminations for His torturers. Instead He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:24) (NKJV)
No wonder men, women, boys and girls down through the last two thousand years have been changed by hearing of this love, or that an Italian painter named Francetti is said never to have completed a painting of Christ on the cross because every time he tried to paint it he wept so hard he could not put his brush to the canvas.
On March 15, 1985, Mr. Wayne Alderson appeared on the Today Show. It was the 40th anniversary of Mr. Alderson’s being wounded as the first American soldier to cross the Siegfried line into Germany in World War II. He had a permanent crease in his head from the wound. Asked for his most important memory of the occasion, Mr Alderson replied that it was a friend who saved his life that day. Alderson had come face to face with a German soldier. The German threw a grenade at Alderson’s feet, and Alderson shot the German. The grenade exploded almost instantly, sending Alderson to the ground, face down in the mud. A nearby German pillbox opened fire in his direction, and he knew that if that grenade had not killed him the machine gun fire would. But his friend turned him over, so he could breathe, and threw himself across his body, shielding him from the deadly fire. “I can never forget the person who sacrificed his life to save me,” said Mr. Alderson, tears in his eyed. “I owe everything to him.”
Friends, we can never forget what Jesus did for us on the cross. We owe everything to Him. If you have never thanked Him, if you have never asked Him to come into your heart, there is no better time than now.