A LENTEN ADVENTURE for 2024: He Chose The Nails - Part 11, What Will You Leave At The Cross?

A LENTEN ADVENTURE for 2024: He Chose The Nails - Part 11, What Will You Leave At The Cross?



What do you think about the history of the redemption of the world?   Would you have written it the same way?

“Ask us how a God should redeem His world, and we will show you!  White horses, flashing swords.   Evil flat on his back.  God on His throne.   

But God on a cross?  A split-lipped, puffy-eyed, blood-masked God on a cross?  … Spear plunged in His side?  Dice tossed at His feet? 

No, we wouldn’t have written the drama of redemption this way.  But, then again, we weren’t asked to.  These players and props were heaven-picked and God-ordained.  We were not asked to design the hour. 

But we have been asked to respond to it.  In order for the cross of Christ to be the cross of your life, you and I need to bring something to the hill. 

We have seen what Jesus brought.” (ML)  He left us so many gifts we would have never dreamed of, much less opened:

  1. He left us the gift of the crown of thorns:  His willingness to bear upon Himself the fruit of our unrighteousness.
  2. He left us the gift of the nails: the forgiveness of our sins.
  3. He left us the gift of the sign:  a token that shows us that God can use anyone He wants to fulfill His eternal purposes, and that He can speak any language necessary in order to be heard and understood. 
  4. He left us the gift of the robe: His willingness to take off the robe of perfection that He had worn since eternity in order to cover Himself with the robe of the shame of sin.  In exchange, He offers us white clothing without spot, the garments of salvation, the clothing of Christ Himself. 
  5. He left us the gift of the wine-soaked sponge: through the thirst that He suffered on the cross, He shows us that He understands us completely and we can fully trust Him.  
  6. He left us the gift of the torn curtain: symbolized by his lacerated flesh, through the torn veil the doors opened so that we can confidently draw near to the throne of grace.
  7. He left us the gift of the cross itself:  the universal symbol of love that God has for the world.
  8. He left us the gift of the grave clothes: to show us that our tragedies can also be transformed into victories.

“We have seen gifts He brought. Now we ask, what will we bring?  We aren’t asked to paint the sign or carry the nails.  We aren’t asked to wear the spit or bear the crown.  But we are asked to walk the path and leave something at the cross.” (ML)

“You’ve seen what Christ left.  Won’t you leave something as well?  Why don’t you start with your bad moments?  Those bad habits?  Leave them at the cross.  Your selfish moods and white lies? … Your binges and bigotries?” (ML)

God wants us to take our sins to the cross so we can receive forgiveness.  Romans 11:27 says: “This is my commitment to my people:  removal of their sins.”  God does more than forgive our mistakes; He removes them!   We simply have to take them to Him.  He not only wants the mistakes we’ve made.  He wants the ones we are making!” (ML) 

Could you leave your moments of pain, anger, anxiety, resentment and fear at the cross?  “Next time you’re worried about your health or house or finances or flights, take a mental trip up that hill. Spend a few moments looking again at the pieces of passion … Balance a spike in the palm of your hand.  Read the wooden sign written in your own language.  And as you do, touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God.  Blood He bled for you … The nails He felt for you.  The sign He left for you.   He did all of this for you.  Knowing this, knowing all He did for you there, don’t you think He’ll look out for you here?

Or as Paul wrote, ‘God did not keep back His own Son, but He gave Him for us.  If God did this, won’t He freely give us everything else?’  (Romans 8:32)”  (ML)

And may I suggest you leave one more thing at the cross? “Your final moment.  Barring the return of Christ first, you and I will have one. A final moment.  A final breath.  A final widening of the eyes and beating of the heart.  In a split second you’ll leave what you know and enter what you don’t.”  (ML)  And since you don’t know what it’s like, you’re not sure you want to go.  But let Jesus calm you with these words:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2,3)

So why don’t we leave all of our bad moments at the cross?  Then we’ll be left only with the good moments, right?  What do you think about that?  It’s a good deal, don’t you think?

Can you imagine your final message to your loved ones, kneeling at your bed?  Your last words to your spouse or children?  What would you say to them?  How would you say it?  Even if you couldn’t answer the first question, perhaps you can answer the second one.  How would you say your last words?   Calmly?  Carefully?  Seriously and sincerely?  Of course you would.   Because most of us only have one opportunity to say our last words. 

“That’s all Jesus was given.  Knowing His last deeds would be forever pondered, don’t you think that He chose them carefully?  Deliberately?  Of course He did.  There were no accidents that day.  Jesus’ last moments were not left up to chance.  God chose the path; He selected the nails. Our Lord … painted the sign.”  He Himself took off the seamless robe.  “God was never more sovereign than in the details of the death of His Son.” (ML) 

And the message that He would like to leave you, His last words for you are: