My grandparents once lived in the beautiful and historic Brandywine Valley. I enjoyed walking down Briton Bridge Road with my PapPap and marveling at the picturesque countryside complete with rolling green hills, sprawling estates, and inviting orchards. Even an old, dilapidated barn appeared lovely amidst the gorgeous landscape.
Once, after at least six months had passed since our last walk together, PapPap excitedly whispered, “Wait until you see what they did to that old barn.”
The revelation was jaw-dropping. The rundown, rustic, stone barn, had been converted into an elegant guest cottage. I still wish I could have had a peek at the splendor I’m sure existed on the other side its front door.
As Easter approaches, I reflect on the similarities between that once old, yet refurbished barn and the cross on which Christ died.
I consider how ugly and rough the old wood must have been, and how its image invoked feelings of terror, shame, and outrage. I tremble when I think that two bloodstained, repellent, accursed wooden beams, wore beauty on one dark Friday in Golgotha more than two thousand years ago. Yes, even though hatred swarmed rampant, teeth gnashed, voices growled, blood flowed, garments tattered, and anguished cries bellowed throughout Calvary, beauty was present. Beauty hung on that soiled cross in the form of the pure, sinless, lamb of God. The cross was hideous, but because of who it touched, it was lovely at the same time.
Even though the actual wooden cross on which Christ, and most likely other men died, is long gone, its meaning has been forever changed. What was once the harbinger of hate is now the symbol of love, hope, and peace. What once provoked shame, now promotes glory. And what was once a cruel agent of agony and death, is now the emblem of eternal life.
Oh, how beautiful Christ made the cross when He victoriously conquered death. How even more glorious is the transformation he can make in the lives of all trust and believe Him.