When the ugly becomes beautiful …

Traffic is so backed up, you’ve barely inched a mile in the last hour. The radio reports that at the front of the traffic congestion is a serious accident.

As you make your way forward, the red lights of the ambulance comes into view. Driving by, you turn away because what you see is an ugly, tragic scene.

It’s interesting how accidents themselves don’t necessarily cause the significant jams to traffic, it’s the people who slow down to gawk at the accident scene who slow the flow. Many people exercise their curiosity to gaze upon the tragic, only to discover there’s nothing but ugliness to see when a life has been brutally harmed.

That is, until you look at the cross of Christ.

No doubt, there’s an element of the horrific and ugly to it. A tortured, bloodied man hangs, dying an excruciating death.

But there’s more — much more — to see.

The cross, a cruel Roman instrument of death, is now a platform used by the God of all creation to make the one perfect sacrifice that will redeem all of humanity from sin. God is actually at work, achieving our salvation, demonstrating His greatness, His grace, His goodness, His mercy, His love, and especially, His glory.

In this way, God makes the tragic and ugly into something remarkably beautiful and incredibly good.

“5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,
    yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
    And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
    he did not open his mouth.
8 Unjustly condemned,
    he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
    that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
    for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong
    and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
    he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
    and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
    he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
    and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
    he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
    my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
    for he will bear all their sins.”
Isaiah 53:5-11
Happy Good Friday!