Rembrandt has a painting called Raising of the Cross.
At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about it. There’s Jesus on the cross, being raised by a couple of others and being jeered at and mocked by the surrounding crowd.
But at second glance, you notice something different about the man in the middle. He’s wearing a blue beret. Why? Because it’s Rembrandt painting himself into the picture.
There’s a profound statement in that painting. Rembrandt basically says that he helped put Jesus on the cross. And so did I.
The hymn says that it was my sin that held Him there. Because of my sin, Jesus died.
Jesus paid the highest price for the sin that I sometimes treat so lightly. It’s almost as if I can sin casually, knowing that I will be forgiven and all will be well in the end. Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls that cheap grace.
Sin may not bring punishment, thanks to Jesus, but there are always consequences to my sin. The more I sin, the less I can sense God’s presence. Jesus with all the sin of the world on Him, couldn’t sense God at all. His cry of “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” came out of that.
Sin kills me inside. It’s like a scar over an old wound where the nerves don’t work as well. Sin deadens me not only to God but also to others around me and ultimately, to myself.
Yes, I’m thankful for grace. I’m also thankful that when Jesus gets done with me, sin won’t be a part of my equation anymore. I won’t ever have to live with the shame and consequences of it ever again.
That’s what I’m looking forward to. Because the absence of sin means more room in my heart for Jesus. That’s the best part of all.
Again, I believe. Help my unbelief.