Like much of the world, I spent Monday, April 15, 2019 close to tears as the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned. And like Breakpoint’s John Stonestreet, I pondered exactly what I was mourning.
For me, the event presented a poignant reminder of the decline of faith in both Europe and America. I also mourned the loss of the cathedral’s beauty and history, recalling good times there with my family that can’t be repeated. I felt deep compassion for the people of France who have lost so much. And I felt sorry I didn’t have time to go visit Notre Dame when I was in Paris three months ago.
Destruction In the Garden
All week I’ve recalled images of the gold cross gleaming through the black ashes of a sanctuary that had once glowed with beauty. My thoughts seem appropriate for today, Good Friday, the day we remember the price Jesus paid for our sin.
Just imagine the beauty of the original creation, the perfection of the man and woman created in God’s image, and their intimate fellowship with the Creator – all marred by sin. But even in the ruins left behind, God held forth the promise of a savior.
The Heavy Price Paid
Today we recall the horrendous price Jesus paid to satisfy the just punishment we deserved. We could never pay the inconceivably high penalty for sin against the holiest, highest, and most beautiful One.
Only a perfect human sacrifice could satisfy the just wrath of God against sin. And as the only perfect being, God Himself had to be the sacrifice. So God “became flesh and dwelt among us” in the form of Jesus.
Today, let’s mourn and confess our sins. Let’s ponder the unspeakable pain Jesus suffered for us.
However, just as the cross gleams in the ruins of Notre Dame, let the cross of Jesus shine as a beacon of hope for us. Both crosses are empty, and so is the tomb where Jesus lay.
Notre Dame can be rebuilt, but it will take millions of Euros and years of work to accomplish. Jesus made it possible for the relationship between God and humans to be restored, too. He has already paid the price, and it only takes an instant.
But it’s not a done deal for everyone. Salvation is personal. Each one of us must agree with God that we’re sinners. We must confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9–10).
If you do not have that intimate friendship with God, turn to Jesus today. He is your only hope of heaven, because only He could pay the price to get any of us through the door. Allow Him to make you new and restore your relationship with God.
Then on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we can all rejoice. For “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21 NASB).
Notre Dame will probably rise again, but eventually all earthy things will pass away. However, the sinner saved by God’s grace will never die but will live eternally in heaven with God.
Jeanne Dennis, Heritage of Truth