My wife, Nancy, created this work of religious art many years ago. It hangs in my office where I spend time each morning with Jesus. I often stare at it, musing on the crucifix and the blood; and how it reminds me, “I am redeemed.”
Redeemed. Purchased. Saved from eternity in hell, a hell I so richly deserve because of my many sins.
Nearly every time I meditate on that image, the Holy Spirit reminds me of what He said through St. Paul: [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (Corinthians 5:21)
Or, through the prophet Isaiah: But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
One of the hymns my wife and I used to sing was written my hymnist Gordon Jensen. Here’s the chorus of “I Should Have Been Crucified”:
I should have been crucified;
I should have suffered and died.
I should have hung on that cross in disgrace,
But Jesus God’s son took my place.
As I stared this morning at my wife’s bloodied art, those lyrics dropped into my thoughts. The blood trailing from the crucifix reminded me once again that, yes, it was I who deserved to be crucified. It was I who should have suffered and died. But God loved Richard Maffeo so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die in disgrace on that cross, to die in my place.
In my place.
In my place He was pierced for the sins I committed and commit again and again. The punishment I richly deserve fell instead on His hands, and feet, and forehead, and back, and side.
In my place He became sin – my sin – so that through God’s matchless grace, and my faith in Christ’s atonement for me, God declares me forgiven.
When I look at the art piece Nancy created, I see God’s love for me inscribed all over it. And if you look closely, you will see God’s love also inscribed for you.