The love of Jesus didn’t begin at the cross; it defined His incarnation and life in this world. In love He drove out demons from the possessed, in love He healed disease, in love He raised the dead. When Jesus wept outside of the tomb of Lazarus, the gathered mourners exclaimed, “See how He loved him!” Jesus poured out His love on this sinful and corrupted creation, for that is what He came to do. The Creator was present in His creation to renew and restore it, to make right what had gone so terribly wrong. Jesus came to show love, and the creation responded with hate.
“Why, what hath my Lord done? What makes this rage and spite? He made the lame to run, he gave the blind their sight. Sweet injuries! Yet they at these, themselves displease and against Him rise.”
In hatred this world raged against the God who is love. What has Jesus done? What makes this world scorn and abuse Him? He has done what Isaiah prophesied He would do: “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” He came in love to free this creation from its bondage to sin and death. Every disease healed, every demon driven away, every leper cleansed was an indication that Jesus had come to destroy sin’s effects forever. But this cleansing and restoration would only come through His rejection, His suffering, through the facing of the rage of this world. Why was He hated by men? So that He could save them, so that He could show them love. Only His death could destroy sin and all of its corruption. Our hymn exclaims, “Sweet injuries!” The injuries of Christ are sweet because through them the disease of sin and death is cast from us, as Isaiah wrote, “With His stripes we are healed.”
Almighty and everlasting God, grant us by your grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s passion that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.