What do I see when I look at the cross? There are a couple of pastors that have pointed out that Lent is a time of looking at Jesus and ourselves and then confessing the difference. So, what do I see when I look at the cross?
The one thing that shouts at me and demands my attention is when Jesus says, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” This phrase has challenged me for years.
If you were to ask the religious leaders if they knew what they were doing, they would not only say ‘yes’ but they would have Scripture to back it up. Jesus was a blasphemer. He thought he was equal to God. He had to die.
How that phrase must have grated on them.
“Has he no shame?! Even on the cross he is arrogant and condescending!” They might have shouted in return. I wonder if they even for a second wondered if they might have been wrong.
And still, even though Jesus was innocent, he did not call down fire from heaven. He didn’t activate the heavenly armies of angels. He forgave them…all of them.
When I look at me I see someone that is petty and unforgiving. I hold grudges, forgive slowly, and want people to know how they have hurt me (passive/aggressively). When I look at me and look at Jesus I see a vast chasm of spiritual growth that needs crossing.
When I confess it and surrender to the cross, I have a twinge of angst that there will be no justice and those that have hurt will end up being forgiven by Jesus. Jesus will tell me that they simply don’t know what they are doing any more or less than I do.
However, when I make a conscious decision to surrender and act upon my faith in God, I find that there is far more peace than I would imagine.
This Lent I am more aware of my ignorance and need for forgiveness. I am also aware that I am ignorant of how easily I can feel justified like the religious leaders whom Jesus forgave.
I’m a wreck that without considering the cross would not know his need for forgiveness or the depth of my self-deception.
What do you see when you look at the cross?