Every year as the Passion Week approaches, I bathe my soul in meditation on the cross, on the suffering of our Savior, and on the resurrection, the vindication of His sufferings. There are many books that I reread every year in preparing my own heart for remembering and celebrating all that Jesus accomplished that awful and glorious week so long ago. One book that I would commend to everyone is The Cross He Bore by Frederick S. Leahy. This little book is packed with so many amazing insights and reflections upon the work that Jesus did in redeeming for Himself a people, purchased by His blood, sealed by His atoning sacrifice. Leahy's epilogue is so fitting as a prologue to our study of the Passion Week, a reminder that the ground around the cross is level, and there is no room for pride and arrogance but only utter humility and poverty in soul.
"As in thought and experience we stand before the cross, we tremble as we consider the wrath of God which flames forth against His Son. We tremble too when we think of the sin which incurred such fearful judgment, our sin. Here the awakened soul can only cry out, 'God be merciful to me the sinner.' That is all we dare ask for. Here and nowhere else abundant mercy is found...There is the contrast between the stony heart of unbelief and the heart of flesh that weeps for sin and looks in faith to the crucified and risen Savior for mercy. The forgiven, restored sinner willingly takes up his cross and follows the Lord Jesus Christ. That cross is whatever the Christian suffers for the sake of Christ and His truth. In bearing that cross there is peace and blessedness as the Christian experiences the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. Not that we can share in the redemptive suffering of Christ, but rather that we seek by God's grace to deny self, accept the anguish of the struggle against sin and bear meekly the scorn of a world that rejects Christ. 'There are some,' said Samuel Rutherford, 'who would have Christ cheap. They would have Him without the cross. But the price will not come down.' The hand that reaches out for salvation must be empty. Everything of self must be disowned. We are debtors to mercy alone. We are all beggars."
May we all come humbly to the cross, beggars in need of mercy, and find abundant grace, pardon, and love.