For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
~2 Corinthians 5:21 (RSVCE)
When reciting the stations, this is when we kneel and quickly recount the sacrifice made for us and how heavy a price it was. After those few seconds, when we rise to continue. Are we mindful of what the exchange was? We might have been moved with pity and sadness that God loved me so much that He died for me and allow the thought to linger. At this moment, when we kneel and then rise to our feet it is as if we have received the power to live a new life. When Jesus breathed His last, it was not just the end of one more human life. His life had taken and swallowed up every sin, everyone succumbs to temptation, every desire to rebel against the ways of God – and with that, He hung on the cross alive. Of course, being in a holding place for such wickedness and outright opposition to His heavenly Father, Jesus would have felt forsaken, and blinded with darkness too thick to hope beyond. Yet, with trust and faith in His All-Loving Father, instead of hiding Himself and fearing what could become of Him, Jesus commends His spirit into the hands of His Father.
Jesus’ act of trust isn’t just a lesson for us, but in reality, this moment puts an end to death because every sin and evil that had ever been conceived had to die too. Like poison rendered impotent because the fatal ingredients have expired, so Jesus withdrew life from sin that it could no more attack and claim anything like its own. “O death where is your victory, where is your sting.”
Lord Jesus, by your dying on the cross, you paid the wages of sin, until it lost its power. In my life I still see sin, rebellion and corruption alive and well. I have not fully believed in what you did on the cross for me. Open my eyes, Lord, to see in faith that the moment of your death, set me free and released me from the shackles of sin. Holy Spirit, help me to believe, that by you living in me, I can overcome sin and live the righteousness of God. Amen.
For the longest time, I found the image of Jesus on a cross a sign of weakness and mere consolation for us in times of difficulty. I also assumed that many areas of sin would remain with me for the rest of my life and I would just have to endure them. There was a turning point when I began to understand what Jesus had actually done on the cross with my sin and that I needed to believe and accept it and live a life dependent on His grace. As I pondered the truth of this event, I began to see certain sins fall away, or no longer seem as appealing. I also experienced the power of fully surrendering the appeal of sin at the cross. By applying the power of the cross in my life, I see the ongoing release from sin and the ability to walk in freedom.
- Every time I am before a crucifix, I will bring before me those areas of sin that I have not overcome yet. Place them in the wounds of Jesus and tell Jesus, “When you gave up your spirit, these sins died with you and they no longer have any hold over my life.”
- Look at Jesus on the crucifix and pray for the grace to avoid the occasion to sin and the strength to stand in the power of the finished work of the cross.