Standing by the cross changes lives


By Rev. Glenn Martin
Guest Columnist

Could you have stood by the cross for those hours while Jesus suffered and died? Could any of us? According to John 19:25-26, three Marys and John stayed by Jesus during his dying — one of those being his own dear mother.

This supremely dramatic scene portrays the stark contrast of a sinful world with the greatest act of divine grace ever given to earth, and especially for that sinful world. While Jesus suffered and died, those in authority laughed and taunted and gambled for his robe. His dear friends and family stood by the cross and felt the contrast of a hostile crowd as they absorbed the pain and agony of Jesus who was dying for his executioners.

I believe that standing by the cross on the day of crucifixion could completely change one’s life and give new meaning to our understanding of God’s forgiveness. Doctrines of the church cannot adequately define what happened to Jesus and for us on that day.

It could be our intellectual vanity causing us to think we can rationally explain the mystery of the atonement. “’My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) 

My lack of knowledge in no way hinders the mighty works of God in his plan to redeem us from sin and death. I cannot analyze and explain Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”  But I can believe it and proclaim it; and somehow I know that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is central to the truth of that Scripture. We don’t have to count every star to know that the heavens declare the glory of God.

Paul’s theme in his New Testament letters was who Jesus was, what he did and how we connect to become one in him. “For I delivered to you what is of first importance what I also received, that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scripture.” (1 Cor. 15:3) John said, “The blood of Jesus, His son, cleanses us from all sin.”  (1 John 1:7)

My mental limitations can never prevent my believing that the three Marys and John saw a divine event that accomplished something for my life now and for my eternal soul for which I can never give enough praise.

Martin is a retired clergy member of the Mississippi Conference who lives in Grenada.