This month we celebrate Easter – the event that demonstrated God’s unconditional, unfathomable love for you and me. In the midst of our sin, our shame and our pain, we can stand at the foot of Christ’s cross, and God’s love and forgiveness pours blood red over our stains, washing us white as snow.
Not only are we forgiven, not only is our relationship with God eternally restored, but we are healed! First Peter 2:24 reveals this to us: “He himself (Jesus) bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” This is good news for all of us who thought we were defeated by shame.
Though we know we are healed, our human nature compels us to ask “How?” Never fear, my friend; love has an answer. It occurs in that same passage of 1 Peter. Let’s read it again: “He himself (Jesus) bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
Now we have to walk back to the Cross. There we see Jesus’ wounds: the pierced hands and feet, the gashes on His head from a thorny crown, the bruises and cuts from merciless beatings, and the swollen lips from extreme thirst.
In John 19:31-34, two amazing truths are revealed about Jesus’ wounds. First, verse 31 tells us the soldiers had been instructed to break the legs of those crucified and remove their bodies in preparation for a special Sabbath. Crucified men would be an eyesore on their religious holiday, so the religious leaders wanted the men dead and gone. When a person was crucified, excessive pressure on the diaphragm made it extremely difficult to breathe. So the person being crucified would push himself up with his legs to catch his breath. Breaking his legs would prevent him from catching his breath, resulting in suffocation.
We learn in verse 32 that the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus were broken and their bodies taken down. Then in verse 33 we learn they did not break Jesus’ legs because He was already dead. That Jesus’ legs were not broken is significant, for it meant the Scripture was fulfilled even in this detail of Jesus’ crucifixion. We know from prophecies in Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; and Psalm 34:20 that “not one of his bones will be broken” (John 19:36).
The first truth about Jesus’ wounds is that Scripture will be fulfilled, even if it is at the hands of evil. Nothing can alter God’s plan. Isaiah 54:10 says, “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
Nothing shakes God or makes Him change His mind mid-stream. God does not forget His promises. Not even seeing His Son die for people who cursed Him and spat upon Him could make God forget His love for us. God had said not one bone would be broken and not one was.
So let me ask you, in light of this profound truth, if God does not condemn you, are you con-demned? No. As we stand here at this old rugged cross and feel His Son’s blood washing us clean, we cannot deny love’s victory.
Now, just to make sure love is allowed a triumphant processional, we move on to a second truth gleaned from Jesus’ wounds. John 19:34 says, “Instead (of breaking his legs), one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”
I was once in a Sunday school class in which the teacher focused on this passage. In doing extensive medical research she found the only way a person’s side would pour forth both blood and water was if his heart literally broke apart and burst open. Now, I do not claim to know all the physical ramifications of this medical claim, but I do know “When in doubt, check God’s Word.” To do this we turn to Psalm 22, where David prophesied Christ’s crucifixion.
In verse 16 we read of His hands and feet being pierced. Verse 18 tells of His garments being divided and lots being cast for His clothing. And in verse 14 we learn of the condition of His heart: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.” This takes my breath away. Christ died of a broken heart! Yes, the soldiers beat Him and nailed Him to the cross, but it was my sin that broke His heart and killed Him. It was His love for me that kept Him there until death.
That’s why we have to walk back to the Cross. You see, this was not just an event that happened 2000 years ago; something we read about as history. No, we were there. Jesus saw shame’s ugly mark on all of us. Yes, you and me. He saw Lysa TerKeurst sinning against Him and knew I would need the healing only His wounds ? only His death ? only His love could give me! He also thought of you as He hung there on that cross. He could have called down a legion of angels to rescue Him, but His love for you kept Him there. Don’t deny that by His wounds you are healed. Jesus paid the ransom with His love. Now give to love what is due: shame’s captive.
Used with the permission of Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you would like additional information on Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries, please contact them at www.proverbs31.org