When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30
In the commercialization of bunnies, eggs, and cuteness, we have masked the significance of the skin-lacerating beating, the bloodied walk to Calvary, those three flesh piercing metal spikes, and the triumphant death of Jesus as He asphyxiated on the Cross. In an effort to make the crucifixion of Christ more memorable, we have removed the key factor of that ministry of death: our sin and offense to God.
Bunnies and eggs have nothing to do with crime and punishment, which was Calvary’s platform. Instead of growing up with the realization that we were redeemed by this tragic execution, we raise our children with rituals that drive them away from the daily need to be thankful to the Lord of Creation Who spared them by sending His Son to die in their stead. Hence, another generation of miscreants walk the Earth with too many participation awards and no true penitence.
Instead, they are sent to take a “timeout” at modern day juvenile detention centers sheltered from the consequences of rebelling against authority. They have no grasp of what true punishment entails. They never experience the cold and distant darkness that separates people from society.
The tomb of Jesus was no sanctuary, but a dungeon for the dead and departed. The dreaded dungeons of old have been discarded for humane facilities that never foster true contrition. Without the dread of punishment, there really is no need to be bound to a moral system that removes impartial justice. Such humanity reduces the entrance and departure of Christ as a rainbow bridge rather than the arduous journey of a mother and father bringing their child into this world and grooming Him to pay for a crime He didn’t commit. As Mary and the disciples mourned their King who rested in that tomb, His shed blood on Calvary seeped into the Earth to wash away the roots and the stain of sin and death for humanity!
Hence, the beautiful lyrics to a classic hymn, Old Rugged Cross:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
Don’t focus on the grave; remember the Cross!