Graham Scroggie, a British commentator said, cut the Bible anywhere and it bleeds. He’s right. You could cut the Bible in Genesis 22, Abraham sacrificing his son. It’ll bleed right there. Because it anticipates God sending his son on that same mountain. If you cut the Bible in Psalm 22, which is a poetic description of the crucifixion, it bleeds. If you cut the Bible in Exodus 12, speaking of the Passover, it bleeds. If you cut it in Leviticus 5, the sin offering, it bleeds. Cut it in Isaiah chapter 53, it bleeds.
It’s all about the sacrifice, all about the cross, so much so that even when John the apostle gets a vision of heaven and looks at the lion of the tribe of Judah, he said, and I looked and behold a lamb as though it had been– what, tell me? Slain. In heaven, you could see marks on this lamb as though it had been killed. Have you ever thought of this? The only work of man you’ll see in heaven are the marks of crucifixion on the body of Jesus Christ.
Without any fuss or publicity Jesus terminated the curse of the Fall, reinvested woman with her partially lost nobility and reclaimed for his new kingdom community the original creation blessing of sexual equality.
Have you seen those make-up adverts with the slogan “Because you’re worth it”? They play on our need to be valued and loved. Deep down, though, we all know that no matter how many times a multinational cosmetic company says, “You’re worth it”, the feeling wipes off with the make-up and it is plain old us again. The truth is we won’t know true love, value, or worth until we recognise what Jesus did for us on the cross.
One thing we can say from all this (description of the agony of crucifixion) is that God knows what it is like to suffer and endure the most excruciating agony. He knows what it’s like to be pinned down and paralyzed. In times of sickness, we can draw strength from knowing that God knows what we are experiencing because He has gone through it Himself.
When NASA scientists want to accelerate a space craft without expending fuel, they perform a manoeuvre called a “slingshot”. They fly the space craft close to a planet and let the gravitational pull increase its speed. The interstellar craft hurtles towards the planet and is briefly pulled around in a partial orbit before being catapulted back out into space at incredible speed. The cross is the spiritual mass around which God’s purpose on creation slingshots around.
We notice also that Paul finds a basic unity, even identity between the love of God as it is shown in the objective, factual event of Christ’s death on the cross and as it is experienced “in the heart” by teh believer (v5b). An emotional feeling of God’s love in itself, is little comfort to th eperson who is lost, condemned, doomed for hell. But a cold, sober historical interpretation that indeed “God love the world” on the cross is of little benefit to a person until that love is experienced, is received, by faith in Christ. It is when these are properly experienced as two aspects of one great love, ultimately indivisible, that our assurance that “hope will not put us to shame” v5a will be strong and unshakable.