Author: Ron Graham
Beauty and ugliness are opposites which both appear prominently in the Bible. Especially in the cross of Christ we see disgusting ugliness contrasted with supreme beauty. Yes there is “wondrous beauty” in the cruel death of Christ.
We will start by looking at the ugliness, then we will turn to the beauty...
The latter chapters of the four gospel accounts tell the story of the cross —in Matthew from chapter 28, In Mark from chapter 14, In Luke from chapter 22, in John from chapter 13. The ugly things told in these chapters include the following...
There were, amid all the ugliness, some beautiful moments including the following...
The song, The Old Rugged Cross, says that in that old cross we see a “wondrous beauty”. In spite of the ugliness we have seen, and deeper than the beautiful moments we have seen, there are three most beautiful things manifest in the cross of Christ.
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16).
Christ died for the ungodly and thus demonstrated God’s own love for humanity so that we could be reconciled to him and be saved from his wrath (Romans 5:6-11).
We can feel the wonder in Paul’s words, "He loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
It is through "the righteousness of one man" Jesus Christ that we can be made righteous. Our justification relies on the perfect goodness of Jesus by which his sacrifice on the cross was effective (Romans 5:17-21).
Jesus was humbly obedient to God in dying on the cross (Philippians 2:5-11). This is a most beautiful thing. Probably the most beautiful moment of all surrounding the cross was when Jesus prayed, "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
"He did no sin nor was any deceit found in his mouth" (1Peter 2:22, Isaiah 53:9). That perfection made his offering acceptable. That perfection is a most beautiful thing.
God’s purpose in the cruel cross was that "grace might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:21).
Peter says that Christians have "a living hope... an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you"(1Peter 1:3-4).
Jesus tells us, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary, for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day. And after that, repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:46-47).
Can you think of anything more beautiful than this outcome of the cross? "As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things" (Romans 10:15).