The Wondrous Cross

by DanWolgemuth on December 28, 2007

“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died; my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.”

In a time of corporate worship yesterday at the national office of Youth for Christ we sang these powerful words penned by Isacc Watts in 1707. As I poured over the words that my lips produced, my soul raced to a question, when did the cross become wondrous? It seems preposterous to exclaim in melodious harmony that the cross–the symbol of shame, disgrace, pain, and retribution–could ever be described as wondrous.

As Jesus Himself anticipated the prospect of the cross, He cried out from His knees in the garden:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

In this honest reflection of the horror of the cross, Jesus exposes the gravity of the event.

And so I ask again, was Isaac Watts correct? Has the cross become wondrous? What could ever transform an act of torture to a place of hope?

For the sake of justice, wondrous. For the demonstration of obedience to the Father, wondrous. For the modeling of humility, wondrous. For the selflessness, wondrous. For the bold rebuke of evil, wondrous. For the payment in full of my debt, wondrous. For the declaration that suffering is not defeat, wondrous. For the scandal of grace, wondrous. For the ultimate sacrifice, wondrous. For the pathway to resurrection, wondrous. For the gateway to God, wondrous.

Yes, it is wondrous indeed.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. ~ Romans 8:31-34

So much to be thankful for, starting with the Wondrous Cross.

Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! ~ 1 Chronicles 16:9

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