The Scandal of the Cross

As we approach Resurrection Sunday, I can think of no more profound passage of Scripture that describes the glories of our salvation in Jesus than 2 Corinthians 5:21. Paul writes, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The implications of this verse are staggering!


This verse teaches us of the sinless perfection of Christ who was absolutely obedient to the Father for 33 years in thought, word, and deed (Hebrews 4:15). Because of His sinless life, Christ earned for us what we could never earn—the positive righteousness of God, which allows us entrance into heaven. Yet, something very extraordinary happened in those grueling hours when Jesus hung suspended on that cross. At the moment He was being forsaken by the Father, all the sins (past, present, and future) of His people were being credited or imputed or accounted to Jesus. Since our sins were credited to Christ, God then treated Him as if He was the vilest sinner ever to live and poured out His wrath on Jesus as our Substitute.

Martin Luther said, “Our sin had to become Christ’s own sin, or else we will perish forever.” Our sin had to become Christ’s own sin. Christ never once sinned, but as He died in our place, our sin was credited to Him and He suffered the punishment for those sins. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”


What happened to Jesus on the cross when He became a curse for us? He was forsaken! Matthew 27:45–46 says, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


What does it mean that Jesus was forsaken or abandoned? It meant that at the moment our sins were credited to Christ, He bore the full brunt of God’s justice against us for our sins. This is staggering because Jesus never once sinned and then in the darkest of moments imaginable, He took upon our sin. He was treated as a sinner in our place and bore the wrath of God.

John Calvin said, “When we behold the disfigurement of the Son of God when we find ourselves appalled by his marred appearance, we need to reckon afresh that it is upon ourselves we gaze, for He stood in our place.”


It is imponderable. It blows our minds. It shocks us. It levels us. It drives us to our knees in utter humility to think that Jesus stood in our place condemned. That He who never knew one iota of personal sin Himself, became sin on our behalf!


Spend some time pondering the fact that if you are a Christian, all of your sins have been credited to Christ and you bear them no more.


Psalm 103:12: “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.


Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Micah 7:19: “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!”


As you observe Holy Week and prepare for Resurrection Sunday, I want us to meditate upon the darkness, the beauty, the scandal, the torture, the love, the grace, and the wonder of the cross of Christ. But. . . Sunday’s COMING!!


Up from the grave, He arose; With a mighty triumph over His foes; He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!