The Old Testament prophets spoke of a coming Christ, saying that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
The words of the Psalmist perhaps illuminate for us the experience of Christ at Calvary when enduring the penalty for the sins of others:
"Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and You have afflicted me with all Your waves.” (Psalm 88:7)
The prophet Jeremiah, also appears to prefigure the suffering Messiah when he writes:
"Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, Which has been brought on me, which the LORD has inflicted in the day of His fierce anger.” (Lamentations 1:12)
What is the true message of the Cross? It is that even more important than the external pains of Calvary – the nails, the spitting, the shame – is the judgment of God which fell on the sinless Lord Jesus so that guilty sinners might be forgiven.
Paul, a passionate preacher of this message put it like this:
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
So that we might escape divine judgment, the Lord Jesus willingly paid the penalty for sins on the cross. This is the great exhibition of God's love for us.
"So that we might escape divine judgment, the Lord Jesus willingly paid the penalty for sins on the cross."
God's wrath is a solemn and terrifying subject. Just as a child should be told to fear a dangerous road and a walker urged to stay away from treacherous cliffs, so men and women need to be warned about the judgment of God. It is something to fear and flee. In a coming day people will call on the rocks to fall on them to cover them from the face of the Lamb, 'for the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'1
Thankfully there is a shelter from this awful tempest of judgment and it is found alone in Jesus Christ. Will you not flee to Christ and trust your salvation to Him?
- Revelation 6:16-17