Last evening in our weekly home group, we spent a time in worship around the powerful and profound song by Michael W. Smith: “Above All.” Written more than 10 years ago, this chorus continues as one of the most beloved and popular pieces in churches everywhere, especially in the Easter season. (*see below) “Above All”
Last evening, one line jumped out at me that I had not seen in this light before. The chorus says “Crucified, laid behind a stone, You lived to die, rejected and alone.” The phrase “You lived to die” caused me to think back more than 20 years ago when I first came to terms with the fact that the whole meaning of the birth and incarnation of Jesus is the cross. Jesus became flesh in order that we might be redeemed from sin. That was the purpose in His coming. It was not so that He could demonstrate His power over nature or His ability to rule the earth in some demonstration of divinity.
We see a hint of this kind of sacrificial motivation when we recognize the heroism of our first responders who often go into a deadly situation in order to rescue those who may be trapped inside. They realize that their purpose for being is to be willing to die in order to save others.
What Jesus did, however, so transcends our human illustration that we can barely understand it. Scripture says that, “He became sin” so that you and I might inherit eternal life.
In a seemingly paradoxical way, the cross reveals the nature of God, the gateway whereby any person can enter into union with God.
What I pray we allow to penetrate into our conscious thought in this Easter season is just how great the heart of God truly is that He would “live to die.” The only reason that you and I can hope for forgiveness, communion with God and the promise of eternal life is because He was willing to leave the glory of heaven, to take on our flesh, and to die for our sin.
Before we ever begin to celebrate the resurrection, we must embrace the profound transaction of the cross.
* P.S. The video accompanying the link to “Above All” contains graphic scenes from “The Passion of The Christ.” If you find that too disturbing, just listen to the music.