The reason I have such a hard time facing the reality of the crucifixion is that I have a hard time facing the reality of my sin.
The details of the crucifixion account are anything but easy to read. To be honest, it’s not a passage I find a lot of enjoyment in. I’d much rather study the beauty of the Psalms, the stories of Jesus’ healings and miracles, or the teachings of Paul to the early church. Those are passages that leave me feeling inspired and encouraged. The rainbows and butterflies verses in scripture are much more my cup of tea than those that recount the horrific beating and death that Jesus faced.
As I read through the crucifixion accounts in all four gospels this week, I began to ask myself why I struggled so much with reading it. After all, it’s good news! His death was on my behalf and his resurrection means new life for me too! The truth of the matter is though you only need grace when you are living in sin, you only need new life when you are dead, and you only need to be rescued when you cannot rescue yourself. The reason I have such a hard time facing the reality of the crucifixion is that I have a hard time facing the reality of my sin. My disobedience is as ugly as the flogging Jesus endured. My failure to recognize his lordship is as horrific as the crown of thorns on his head. My desire for the things of this world is as fatal as the nails in his hands and feet. Coming to terms with the crucifixion means coming to terms with my depravity, and that is not a pretty truth to face.
Grace is a beautiful thing, but with the recognition of his mercy must come the recognition of my failure. The purpose of this awareness is not to establish a web of guilt and shame or to trap us in our old ways, but it is to allow us to see the greatness of the sacrifice that had to be made and to begin to understand the depth of love the Father has for us. Our sin is so ugly, so repulsive, so divisive, but his grace is far more freeing and beautiful than that. When we begin to understand the depth of our depravity, we can begin to understand the vastness of his love and mercy which offers a new hope and a new beginning.