No flower can bloom in Paradise which is not transplanted from Gethsemane. No one can taste of the fruit of the tree of life, that has not tasted of the fruits of the tree of Calvary. The crown is after the cross.
The Cross is not the appeasement of an angry and retributive God. The cross is not where Jesus saves us from God, but where Jesus reveals God as Saviour. The cross is not what God inflicts upon Jesus, in order to forgive. But what God in Christ endures as he forgives. The cross is where the sin of the world coalesced into a hideous singularity, so that it might be forgiven, en masse across. The Cross is where the world violently sends its sins in the body of the Son of God, and where He absorbed it all saying, “Father forgive them.” The cross is both ugly and beautiful. It’s as ugly as human sin as beautiful as divine love, but in the end, love and beauty win.
Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes, and we hear these words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That’s us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing, so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross, we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner, whoever he or she may be.
Jesus was the suffering servant, headed for the cross. He died ONCE (one-time) for our sins to fulfill the law. Jesus is now and forever the triumphantly resurrected, ascended and glorified King. We must follow the resurrected King while never forgetting his sacrifice. However, it is difficult to follow a King if we think he is always leading us on His road of suffering. We need to catch up with where He is leading us.
Christ’s suffering for us is not a mere theological dodge but the supreme case of the law that governs the whole world; and when they mocked him by saying, ‘He saved others, himself he cannot save,’ [Matthew 27:42; Mark 15:31] they were really uttering, little as they knew it, the ultimate law of the spiritual world.