"When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." — John 19:30
For many people, the term "ground zero" brings to mind a specific time and place that marks a beginning. For Christians, our ground zero was about 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem.
Because he is holy, God had to punish sin. On the cross where Jesus died, God poured out his full wrath against human rebellion. There his justice was satisfied through a sacrifice. The cosmic paradox of the cross, however, is that in the moment of God's greatest anger against sin, we also see his supreme act of love and grace. At the cross, we see that the Father gave his only Son to save us, though we were the ones who deserved to die.
And the Father's sacrifice of his Son is only half of the grace we see at Calvary. Jesus wasn't forced to be a sacrifice for human sin; he freely chose to offer himself to pay the price for our sin. The death sentence he endured was ours, but he willingly died for us.
Not a single one of us could have endured God's wrath for our sin. Nor could any one of us have chosen to hang on the cross for all sinners. At Calvary, our ground zero, we see the immeasurable depths of salvation by grace alone.
May the love of God the Father and the grace of Jesus Christ shape all we do today.
O Father, at the cross we see your wrath poured out against our sin. Thank you, Jesus, for taking our place. May we live for you in all we do, showing your grace and mercy and sharing your love and good news everywhere. Amen.