As I was reading Mark 2 the other day, I was struck by a simple but powerful statement from Jesus. At the beginning of the chapter, several individuals lower down their paralyzed friend hoping Jesus would heal their companion. Before Jesus ever tells the paralytic to pick up his bed and go home, He tells the man “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). Aside from the already incredible nature of that statement coming before the crucifixion (you can read my reflection on that here), I’m struck by some of the thoughts that had to have come to Jesus’ mind as He made the statement. And He doesn’t just make sin-clearing statements like this once.
Every single time Jesus says to someone “Your sins are forgiven”, He is saying, “I will take on the punishment for your sins” and “I will endure the incomprehensible outpouring of God’s just wrath for you”. Every time he forgives sins before the cross, in some small way, he must be reminded of the terror that is to come, the cup He will drink, regardless of how bad He desires for that cup to pass.
Every single time Jesus calls another disciple, every time He points people to repent and believe, Jesus is adding more affliction to the already excruciating event that will soon take place. Even when He is minutes away from enduring a punishment so unimaginably severe that we can’t begin to comprehend it, Jesus is still seeking to save the lost and adding more pain and suffering for Himself to bear as He talks with the repentant man being crucified with Him. It’s easy to miss the significance of this. Jesus is willing to do anything to save undeserving sinners and He absolutely never takes shortcuts, even when it would have been acceptable.
Sometimes the infinite and incomprehensible nature of the cross can cause all of the awesome aspects of it to run together. Distinct glories of Jesus slip through the cracks when this happens. When we take time to slowly meditate on each and every recorded moment of Jesus’ life, we will be struck by more and more elements of an already unforgettable and majestic life.