WORDS FOR LIVING: God’s Mission on the Cross | Way of life

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

As we worship during this time of Lent leading us into Holy Week and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, many familiar hymns draw our attention to Jesus’ sacrifice on a sturdy, bloodstained cross. One particular hymn takes its title from the words of its first verse:

When I examine the marvelous cross

On which died the Prince of glory,

My richest gain I count but the loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Isaac Watts makes us realize a truth that only those who love Jesus deeply understand. The cross of Christ offers great deliverance but it also demands great sacrifice. Isaac was born in 1674, in Southampton, England. At 24, he began preaching and serving in the Mark Lane Independent Church in London. Pastor Watts was deeply disappointed by the hymns of his time, which failed to inspire his parishioners to genuine worship and holy living. His displeasure led him to compose over 600 hymns, all intended to call his congregation to a deeper knowledge and worship of God. This hymn was written for use in a communion service.

When we sing hymns like this, we are reminded that God’s mission was for Christ to be our living Saviour. The cross reveals to us the heart and character of God. In this season of Lent, I invite you to focus your attention on themes such as – Reconciliation, Redemption, Sacrifice, Salvation and Forgiveness – demonstrating how God has reached out to us through Christ to bring us into a devoted relationship with Him. , transform our life and bring us healing and forgiveness. It is when we fully grasp the mission of the cross that we can conclude with Pastor Watts that God:

Love so incredible, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my everything.

— The Reverend Keith Carlson is chaplain at Ecumen of Litchfield.

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