Psalm 102:2-3, 16-21
John 8:21-305th Week of Lent
Whenever anyone who had been bitten … looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:9)
How strange it must have been for the Israelites who had been bitten by a snake to be told to look upon a bronze serpent if they wanted to be healed! But it worked. The venom that most certainly would have killed them lost its power, and they were delivered. They had to gaze at the thing that caused their pain, the very consequence of their unbelief, if they wanted to be healed. They had to confront their sin head-on if they wanted to be delivered from it.
Now fast-forward to the time of Jesus. He too was expressing a contradiction. He knew that he had to be lifted up on a cross in order for us to be set free from the sting of sin and death. He knew that the instrument of his death would become the source of life for everyone. All we have to do is gaze on the cross.
So spend some time today looking closely at a crucifix. See there the consequences of your sin—and the sins of everyone in all of history. See the One who took the consequences upon himself. See Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly embracing the fate that should have been yours.
Keep looking. See on that cross the perfect definition of love. Jesus said that the greatest love is “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Let his love for you—his personal, warm love for you—melt your heart. Let his compassion for you—his willingness to suffer for you—move you to offer him your life, your will, and your plans.
Now look around. See your brothers and sisters who are also gazing on the cross. They too have been redeemed. Their destiny is your destiny. Let their lives, their stories, their needs and hopes and dreams, move your heart with love. You are not alone! Together with them, you can move mountains in this world. As one body, we can tell everyone else: “Look! Here on the cross! Here is the answer to all your needs!”
“All praise to you, Jesus, for your cross! May we become signs of hope, reflecting your love and passion for souls!”~WAU