The atoning blood of Christ is more powerful than we could begin to imagine. The blood of a carpenter, king, friend, and Savior was spilled so that our lives might be eternally secured, despite his innocence and our guilt. Boil all the religious aspects of the Christian faith down and what you have left is the precious, unbelievable good news of a body broken, bleeding, buried, and risen three days later on our behalf. Such a faith is offensive, filled with a steadfast hope, and in need of constant remembrance.

An Offense

Described by some as “cosmic child abuse,” the cross is a scandal for anyone who cannot conceive of a God who operates within a system of penal substitution to bring about redemption. Such a view seems rather ludicrous when considering the blood-sprinkled altars, bloodstained lintels of the Israelites, Jesus’ blood-tinged drops of sweat in the garden, and the blood-soaked body of Christ on the cross. However, it is not a surprise. Paul understood the offense of the cross and reminded us of the power in preaching Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). The cross is a stumbling block (1:23) and an aroma of life unto life as well as death unto death (2 Corinthians 2:16).

A Sure Hope

At a specific time and place, the atoning work of Christ was facilitated by wicked acts of men, witnessed, and recorded for posterity. Good Friday reminds us that redemption is bloody. Christ’s offensive, atoning work is beautifully scandalous and ensures that all who look to him alone in faith will in no wise be disappointed by the bloody tree or empty tomb. We have a sure hope.

A Constant Reminder

Christians must not assume the Gospel, relegate the broken body and shed blood, or forget our personal need for Christ. This is why at the last supper, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” A ritualistic obligation is not the purpose of our gathering. We gather for the personal and corporate reminder and application of Christ’s broken body and shed blood.

The slaughtered Messiah offends our self-sufficient hearts and extends hope to our burdened souls. The proclamation of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments offer us a consistent reminder that redemption is found outside ourselves. It is in Christ. It is a bloody redemption followed by a godly resurrection that creates eternal hope.

Chris Dunn
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