Some time ago, I had an experience at church that I will never forget.
During the Sunday morning service, the pastor asked each member of the congregation to make a list of his sins on a sheet of paper, as the Holy Spirit led. After a time of reflection and prayer, each person walked up to the front of the church and nailed his folded piece of paper, which represented his sins, onto a large wooden cross.
When it was my turn, I laid my folded “list of sins” onto the end of the crossbar and struck the nail with the hammer that had been provided. The sound of the hammer connecting with the nail was deafening—not to my ears, but to my spirit. The realization that, in effect, my own hand had driven the nails into our Savior’s flesh was overwhelming.
In that moment I was struck with the reality that because Jesus knew I would be in this world at this particular time and would not be able to live a sinless life, He—the One who spoke the world into being—had chosen to lay down His life for me so that I could have everlasting fellowship with Him. I already knew this, of course; I have been a Christian for many years. But the act of virtually nailing Him to the cross with my own hand made His sacrifice more real than before.
On the way back to my seat, I listened to the thunder of nails being hammered into the cross by those who were doing as I had just done. I watched as scores of other people streamed toward the front to nail their sins to the cross, and once again I was struck with the awesomeness of the sacrifice.
Tears began to stream down my face. I heard the Lord say, “I did this not only for you, but for the whole world!” It was an echo of His words recorded in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). The full impact of what Jesus did for us all reached the very core of my being.
I think sometimes those of us who have been Christians for a while get so excited about hearing the “hottest” leader on the speaking circuit or reading our favorite minister’s latest book or attending conferences that we often forget the basics of our faith. How much more basic can you get than what Jesus did on the cross?
I believe that if we do not grasp the enormity of this act, we will be hard pressed to successfully share with others what our Savior has done for us. And isn’t that what we were commissioned to do? (see Matt. 28:18-20). Jesus told us to go out and share the good news of what He has done for us so that others will be drawn to Him—something we cannot do effectively unless we ourselves realize the great price He paid for the forgiveness of our sins.
Won’t you join me today in reflecting on the sacrifice Jesus made for us? Ask Him to make it so real to you that your own gratitude swells and you start to burn with desire to share the good news with those who don’t know their true state or aren’t aware that He has already paid the price for their sins. I guarantee your faith will grow—and the kingdom of God will expand as well.
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF April 2, 2012
As you approach Easter this week take time to reflect on our Heavenly Father’s indescribable love in sending His Son to be the sacrificial Lamb for our sins. Thank our Lord Jesus for His willingness to obey the Father and submit to His will—even to death and humiliation on the cross. Pray that many will receive Him as Savior in this season. Do your part to invite some to church or dinner and let them see Christ in you. Continue to pray that our churches would experience revival that would impact our nation. Continue to pray for the upcoming elections, the protection of Israel and the persecuted church. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Rev. 5:12
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