“Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.”
— How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, Stuart Townend
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us is my current favorite hymn. I love the depth of truth contained within it, the complete admission of guilt–of complicity in the death of Christ. I love that I didn’t know this was a modern hymn until I looked it up. It would fit in any book of traditional hymns.
I heard this hymn today, and the above lyrics stood out to me. While the entire hymn is profoundly meaningful, this was the part that hit me today. I think most of us, on some level, believe that we would have been on the side of truth on that ugly day in Jerusalem when Pilate asked a crowd who he should release. We all want to believe that we would have sided with Christ, that we would have stood against the crowd and asked Pilate to release the beloved Rabbi. Yes, we would have been the smart ones, we think–we would have been wiser than the crowd, wiser even than the men who had followed Jesus for three years.
But the truth is that we are all Peter.
We proclaim that Jesus is the Christ when it’s easy, but when confronted with pressure, we say, “I don’t know Him.”
It was reassuring to me to discover that the writer of this beautiful hymn had the same thoughts. He writes,
Nevertheless, I’d been meditating on the cross, and in particular what it cost the Father to give up his beloved Son to a torturous death on a cross. And what was my part in it? Not only was it my sin that put him there, but if I’d lived at that time, it would probably have been me in that crowd, shouting with everyone else ‘crucify him’. It just makes his sacrifice all the more personal, all the more amazing, and all the more humbling.
It’s worth it to read the entire story of how he came to write this song.
We live in a time when it is easy, convenient, and even expected to deny Christ. We may soon live in a time–even here in the U.S.–where our very freedoms and lives depend upon us denying the Savior.
May we never again find a time that we stand with the crowd.
May we stand, rather, in the shadow of the Cross that gives us life and boldly proclaim that His wounds have paid our ransom.