Folks, all over the world are gathering as we are, to remember and commemorate the suffering of Jesus on the cross. As Jeremiah read the prophet Isaiah’s descriptive account of Jesus death at Calvary everyone is focused for a moment on the sacrifice and for a few brief moments in this four month of 2019 the world will stand and briefly gaze at the sacrifice of love and then we shall move on thinking of preparing Easter festivities and making the list in our minds of who all will be attending Sunday lunch and whether or not the weather will cooperate with the Easter egg hunt for the kids. Does there seem to be anything a little off with what I just described?
Could it be that the reason our world is in the shape it is in is because we fail to address the proximity equation of Calvary? What? You have never heard of the proximity equation of Calvary? Let me lay it out for you.
The cross of Jesus Christ has always been misunderstood even by those who passed before it on the very day when Jesus hung on it. Because the proximity equation is not about geographical distance, but rather spiritual proximity! Look at the insight that Mark’s gospel gives us:
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”
31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and [f]believe.”
Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him. (Mark 15:29-32)
Those who should’ve have received His message, who should’ve understood why He had come and what His sacrifice meant missed it because they were spiritually distant from Calvary. The same is true today, in a world that has had the gospel preached in every nation, in a world where the Bible is being translated into every language, in a world that has seen the benefit of Christ’s sacrifice through revivals that should have set the world ablaze with the holy fire of God there have always been those who placed the cross on a hill too far away, as described by John Fischer. Until the proximity equation is worked out in the heart of mankind and more specifically in the heart of the Church, then there is destined to those who encounter the cross and the impact and the profound meaning of Jesus’ work on Calvary will be of ill affect on the world that is in desperate need of a Savior.
The sadness is that the world has a Savior in Christ Jesus whose offer of salvation is being down played out of fear of culture. The message of the cross has been replaced by the message of I’m alright and you’re alright. The message of repentance, surrender and sanctification are passe. There has been recreated a Christianity without the cross at the center. The cross no longer represents the sacrifice for our sin, but the ambiguous sin that is unintentional. The reality of truth at Calvary is that He who knew no sin became sin, our sin and He died on our cross. Not some ambiguous cross on a hill too far away, but at our Calvary, our place of execution and through deception, as is always the tactic Satan uses to deceive us into thinking wrongly about God’s plan, he has convinced us that the work of Jesus at Calvary wasn’t personal but rather a general act for a covering for all humanity that allows us to continue in our sin rather than being delivered from it.
The sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary was a sacrifice for all humanity to be delivered from the grip of sin, not to have our conscience’ cleansed from our life of sin so that we continue in sin.
Good Friday has nothing to do with the goodness of anything except the freedom from sin Jesus purchased with His blood that we might be transformed by His glorious divine blood! What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! The power of Salvation is not found in our creeds, or forms of church government and offices, but in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb, Jesus.
Let us commit today, placing the cross in the center of our hearts and removing it from a hill too far away and thus solving the problem of the proximity equation that has confounded the world and sadly, the church. When Christ hung on the cross at Calvary it was my cross, it was yours also. Because He saw us there at the foot of the cross. Let Him see us not jeering, but rather kneeling.