Every now and again it is as though God lifts the veil a little bit more and reveals something deeper to us. It is something that has been there all the time, but suddenly the implications become clearer and have a profound effect on us. It may be a familiar Scripture that suddenly has a new and much deeper impact or, as in this particular case with me, a combination of things.
On a recent Healing Retreat at Ellel Grange, a song was played, during which pictures were shown and one was of a man, covered in blood, stretched out in agony on a cross.
Before that I had been reading Oswald Chambers’ ‘My Utmost for His Highest’ – a challenging daily read if ever there was one – and came across Jesus’ penetrating question to Peter, “Do you love me?”
Then I heard a reading from Steve Lightle’s book, ‘Exodus 2’, describing how Jesus showed Steve, in a vision, his own heart. Not realising what it was at first, he recoiled from it in horror as it was the ugliest thing he had ever seen. Jesus showed him all the pride, petty jealousies, bitterness and unforgiveness that lay hidden there before doing divine surgery.
Then singing, or trying to through tears, Stuart Townend’s wonderful hymn, ‘The Power of the Cross’. And now, in the days approaching Easter, studying the lead-up to the crucifixion and the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane – “Father, isn’t there any other way We can do this? Can’t We bypass the cross? Have I really got to go through the torture of the next twenty-four hours, without You? And then go into hell?” Not Christ’s own words of course, but His mental agony was clear as doctor Luke describes the great drops of bloody sweat dripping from His forehead. There was only silence from heaven. No other way.
How much do I really love Jesus? Am I really prepared for Him to do the divine surgery on my heart and do away with all the pride, hidden hate, stubbornness, jealousies, unforgiveness? As we face the cross once again this Good Friday, can we say: “Not my will, but Yours, Lord”?
‘Oh, to see the pain written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin;
Every bitter thought, every evil deed,
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.
This, the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, took the wrath:
We stand forgiven at the Cross’. Stuart Townend
Prayer: Father, Please forgive us, for we don’t know what we do. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.