4 April 2018

And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!  Colossians 2:15 (J.B. Phillips)

In the crosshairs: To be the object of intense observation or scrutiny, usually as a result of some wrongdoing or unpopular opinion, etc., or to be in a position to be attacked or criticized. 

For the Australian cricketers involved in the ball-tampering scandal over the past week, the crosshairs of anger, criticism, condemnation and public humiliation have been firmly locked on them as targets.  Shot after shot has been fired on these three men, whose actions and now whole lives are the object of intense observation and scrutiny.  They are in the crosshairs, and it has left them exposed, vulnerable, shattered and at the mercy of a hostile world, who have turned their weapons of judgment on them and placed them under a barrage of attack.

Jesus knew what it was like to be in the crosshairs; under intense observation, scrutiny and attack.  From the moment he was born, he was a target.  His actions were criticised by the establishment, his words were considered offensive, his very existence a threat.  He was humiliated, publicly shamed, paraded before the world and hung on a cross where the derision continued until he breathed his last. 

But that was his mission.  Jesus came to be the target. He allowed his life and his actions to be the subject of public scrutiny and after a comprehensive and thorough investigation Pilate came before the people and said, “ I find no basis for a charge against him” (John 19:4).

He was innocent but he allowed himself to be crucified anyway.  He willingly absorbed the ridicule, humiliation, public shaming and judgment of the world’s self-appointed firing squad to say to the world, “It is finished.”  Why?  Because from eternity, you have been in the crosshairs of his love. 

Jesus knows that when our lives are under scrutiny, we are left vulnerable, exposed and shattered.  In the face of a sustained volley of judgment that comes from every angle, we are humiliated and defeated. Yet he came to draw the fire away from you once and for all so that you could experience newness of life; the protection of his grace, the embrace of his love and the freedom that comes with forgiveness.  When the self-righteous world was celebrating the successful downfall of this one who claimed to be the King of the Jews, Paul tells us that ‘having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!’ 

That’s the joy of Christ’s resurrection victory that we live in today and every day.  You are in the crosshairs of his love for eternity. It’s a sustained love that will daily renew, daily restore, and daily deliver God’s promise of forgiveness and a new beginning, no matter how intense the scrutiny that your life comes under.  That’s good news for me, for you, and for the Australian cricketers!

To Ponder:   It’s very easy for us to shoot down those who have done wrong.  It’s far harder to love and forgive but the resurrection of Jesus makes that possible.  Who is Jesus calling you to line up in the powerful scope of his resurrection to overwhelm with love?  Go do it.

Lord Jesus, I deserve nothing more than judgment when my life comes under your encompassing scrutiny. But instead, you line me up in the crosshairs of your love and shower me with grace.  Let me go and do likewise in response to what you have done for me.  Amen.