Sometimes my mind wanders while I’m in church, but it isn’t always a bad thing. This Lenten season I noticed the shadows cast by the altar cross during Wednesday evening services, and they preached their own sermon.
If you look at the physical cross in the center of the picture, you will notice that it stands up straight and perfectly formed, while the images created by its shadows are bent and distorted. Here is a closer look.
Christ was born and died as perfect Man, while those originally created in His image have been bent and distorted by sin. You could argue that Christ became bent and distorted as well (temporarily) when He took on our sin and paid for it by His death, but He would not have been a worthy substitute if He had not been sinless in His own thoughts and actions.
That wasn’t the case for the two thieves who were crucified on either side. When one of them hurled insults at Christ, the other reminded him, “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:41, NIV) And yet, in the most important sense, only one of the thieves got what his deeds deserved. Both deserved hell, but one received heaven.
Sin has distorted my image, too. Even so, God sees me as straight and as perfectly formed as the Man on that middle cross. Because He took on my punishment, I won’t get what I deserve, either.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV.)
Praise be to God.