The First Cry

17 Feb

Last Sunday I had the privilege of beginning a new evening series in our church,  Cries from the Cross.

The aim of the series is to take a fresh look at the cross in the run up to easter and to learn anew some of the things that the cross achieved and is achieving. Our first cry was ‘Father, forgive them’ from Luke 23. In studying for the sermon I was struck by how much Jesus’ death on the Cross turns our conventional thinking on its head. I was amazed that through the intention and prayers of Jesus His death utterly confounds what we’d expect to happen…

The Cross of Christ

Here’s what we normally assumes happens. If we’re responsible for someone’s death we say we have ‘their blood on our hands.’ It’s a reference to the guilt, the condemnation that comes from being complicit in the taking of a life. This is how Pilate saw it. Earlier in the story, having realised that the baying group would stand for nothing less than the crucifixion of Christ, he literally washes his hands of what’s going on. He’s saying this man is going to die and I don’t want the guilt that comes with that.

But! But…

When Jesus died, praying for forgiveness for those who murdered Him and had made it necessary for Him to die (i.e. all of us), His blood ends up achieving something else. Rather than condemning, it frees. Rather than bringing guilt, it brings forgiveness, redemption, salvation.

To have the blood of Christ ‘on our hands’ isn’t to be guilty, it’s to be forgiven. He totally turns our thinking on its head. That’s what we learnt last Sunday. The Cross is the place of forgiveness and it’s a place we as Christians should never tire of going to.

You can listen again to the sermon here. And, if you didn’t come last week, why not come this week and see what Jesus really did achieve on the Cross.

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