I’ve been reading through the Bible chronologically this year. And I must confess, the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy can leave a person feeling bogged down. As I have read through all the laws God gave His people, my spirit has cried out for hope. I mean, have you ever thought about trying to follow all those rules?
This morning, I came across this verse, “Anyone who is hung on a tree is cursed in the sight of God.” (Deuteronomy 21:23) As soon as I read those words, my spirit jumped! Hope was tucked in between all of these laws. You see, Jesus suffered through death, so we wouldn’t have to experience God’s wrath. He was hung on a tree and took the punishment for every law‐breaker — including you and me!
Sometimes in the busyness of life, I forget just how critical Christ’s death on the cross was to my freedom. If He hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have a relationship with God and neither would you. As a result of His death, God’s wrath was satisfied and we walk away free. (Romans 5:9 – 10).
So, how do we remind ourselves of the hope that is found in the cross of Christ?
- Set aside some time for solitude. Read through the story of the crucifixion several times. (John 19).
- Wear a cross necklace. When I notice my cross necklace throughout the day, I remind myself to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving.
- Memorize Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ask the Holy Spirit to move this truth from your head down into your heart.
- Do some research on the practice of crucifixion in ancient history. Spend some time thinking about what Jesus experienced because He loved you.
- Try Labyrinth prayer. Many churches offer the Labyrinth prayer experience during the Easter season. This type of prayer experience allows you to consider what might hinder your journey to a deeper relationship with God. As you journey through the Labyrinth, you will contemplate the magnitude of God’s grace.
- Listen to worship music that celebrates the cross of Christ and spend time praising Him for His great sacrifice.
Questions for Personal Reflection
- Imagine you are one of Jesus’ followers, watching Him be crucified. Describe the scene; the sights, the sounds, and the smells. What are you feeling?
- During the crucifixion Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). What do you think Jesus was feeling emotionally at this point? Why would God the Father abandon His own son?
- How does the cross bring hope to you personally?