Made of wood and nails
and roughly built to stand
a place to nail the feet
and a place to nail the hands.
No finely-sanded surfaces,
no molding work or trim,
just two rough beams of lumber
cut to do their duty grim.
No cool, secluded corner
there to suffer in some peace.
The crosses lined the busy roads
outside the city gates.
Hours and hours of burning sun
on skin already torn,
the sting of sweat in open wounds
would add to how it burned.
But first, the beatings, whippings,
so the subject would be weak.
the torture and the mocking
meant to bring them to their knees.
A bleeding, stripe-marked back,
His beard torn from it’s roots,
His brow marked, not by gold or jewels
but by a crown of thorns.
The all-powerful Son of God
reached the somber end
of what His body could endure
because He bore our sins.
The cross was laid there on the hill
and Christ was stripped down bare,
His shredded back was laid upon
the splinters without care.
The soldiers fought and cast their lots
to win His seamless robes,
perhaps the garment of a famous
prisoner could be sold.
They laughed and joked while working
binding hands to hold them firm,
while raising hammers to the sky
to drive each nail in turn.
When all was ready
with their victim firmly nailed in place
they drug the cross to where a hole was dug,
and then they braced,
They worked together raising it
to slide down in the hole.
And as it slammed down into place
His wounds were torn some more.
Their work was done.
The Son of God was hanging on display,
treated just as if He’d lived
our lives in every way.
The wrath of God was rushing
from His throne of justice high,
was heading straight for us
to judge our sin and selfish pride.
But Christ absorbed the fiery blast
while hanging on that tree.
His Father’s separation
was His greatest agony.
The nails were painful
and the mocking scorn of enemies,
but there was a greater pain
He suffered over these.
To look to His Father
whom He loved in perfect unity,
both members of the Triune Godhead,
the Holy Trinity,
where never once in times unmeasured
had there ever been
a break in fellowship,
an inter-relational split,
or any cause to be displeased.
As the Father looked down
on His Son upon that cross,
He chose to see us there instead,
our sins and all they cost.
This weight of the removal
of His Father’s fellowship,
Caused Christ to cry out
in vuln’rability and fear.
Then, the final breath
as He yielded up His life.
He took the penalty of death
for all our sin-filled lives.
This is the cross.
The cross – where Jesus put our death to death,
where He breathed in what should have been
our fleeting, final breath.
With Him, and in Him, we have been crucified,
buried, and then raised to live again,
a life that’s pure and new,
a life designed to always bring His glory into view.
When I believed by grace,
Christ and I were unified,
He in me, my hope of glory,
I in Him, my living Head.
His new life now lives through me.
A startling truth of joy and peace.
I am not mine now anymore,
It’s here I’ll daily come restore
my thinking and my heart.
We have not now been left alone
to make these truths work on our own,
His Spirit lives within,
turning us from sin,
to walk in this new life,
To walk in this reality,
to claim this new identity,
and give our all to Christ.