The cross of reveals the value of mankind AND the severity of sin.
The cross of Christ reveals the value of mankind AND the severity of sin. When I see the Lamb of God on a cross - scourged and then crucified - I stand amazed at how important I am to God and also how awful sin is.
It's exciting to me that in this day we're exploring the streams of this gospel river, so to speak. However, let's remember the river mouth, and that river mouth is... The sin of humanity was monumental, and that sin equated to an unsurpassable chasm between us and a holy God. God's wrath was resting upon the sin that existed in the inward parts of every man and woman. In the greatest act of love and mercy ever, that wrath was poured out on Jesus, Who actually became sin and willingly gave up His own life, and the Father and the Holy Spirit grieved as they watched on. Nonetheless, the unity was perfect. The blood-payment for sin was entirely sufficient. The presence, penalty and power of sin was defeated for those who believe. Hallelujah.
I imagine the apostle, John, reflected near-daily on the crucifixion of Jesus in the final decades of his life. When the apostle, John, would recall the small daggers of metal in leather straps, tearing into Jesus' face and vital organs; I imagine he would not have thought of sin as a minor thing. Most certainly not. The Bible says that Jesus was marred more than any other man. That means that no one has ever been so brutally disfigured in punishment, ever in history. Jesus was so severely scourged that you couldn't even recognise Him. I recently learned from an expert in Jerusalem that it would have in fact been, twice.
I love what Charles Spurgeon said, "Let us abhor the sin which brought such agony upon our beloved Lord. What an accursed thing is sin, which crucified the Lord Jesus!" It is written in 1 John 4:10, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." All troubles and problems in the world come from the fact that unsaved man is separated from God.
However, God the Father, in His indescribable love has made a way to reclaim us, and restore us back to the glory of eternal unbroken fellowship with Him.
It is abundantly true that we were the target, the sin was not the target. We were the treasure that was buried in the field that the Lord wanted. But the sin had to be dealt with, and it was awful enough to over centuries grieve the heart of an all-knowing God.
Even this simple explanation of the gospel will upset some people. Some people will think in themselves, "That's a condemning message," or "That's harsh." The message is indeed harsh in the hands of a proclaimer with impurity in their heart and subsequent condemning and judgmental lips. Yet, this message in the hands of a pure-hearted saint compelled by love, who represents a God who is rich in mercy; is wonderful and liberating.
Let's not change the message because of harsh messengers who have gone before us. Let's not move the ancient boundary lines of the generals that have preached this glorious gospel before us. When I see the cross, I see that I was the pearl of great price to the Lord Jesus, AND I see the Lamb of God expiating my awful sin. Amen.