Hubert Simpson has preserved the story of a picture which was painted at the request of the Royal Corps of Signals to depict an incident which took place in the First World War. It shows us an unarmed linesman in no-man’s land, sent out there to repair a broken cable and to restore communication.
But the picture shows him prostrate and lifeless on the shell-scarred ground; his body stretched out in solitude, his mission fulfilled in sacrifice. His hands were straight; his wrists were cold and stiff in death. But his dying action had been to bring the ends of the broken cable into contact as wrist was clamped to wrist. Contact had been restored at the cost of his life, and beneath the picture is the one word “Through!”
This is what the Son of God did for us in His death on the cross. He went out to lay down His life in the no-man’s land of sin and separation from God, went out unarmed, alone, to restore the broken contact between man and his God. We still see him rigid and lifeless on the blood-stained field; His body stretched out in suffering.
His purpose achieved in sacrifice. His hands were pierced with nails; His wrists were numb taught in death. But those two arms outstretched in death are the sign of contact restored, and we know that there on the cross, He put us “through” to God. There! Once that vision of the cross of Christ shines within man’s soul, it will inspire him with the one supreme motive for his lifetime.
This moving incident begins to help us comprehend the magnitude and wonder of Jesus’ love for us. The unarmed linesman died in an effort to help his friends. His sacrificial and selfless action would have inspired many of his fellows.
Jesus’ love for us, when he willingly died on the cross, was selfless and sacrificial, but was for enemies. Such is the breadth and depth of His love. His death was in order to make it possible for those like us who have ignored or rejected Him to get through to God. Through in life, by prayer and through in death, by being pardoned and saved from judgement.
Sir Marcus Lone, who told this story in his book “The Voice of the Cross”, is surely right when he suggests that once comprehended and accepted by us, “the cross of Christ… will inspire us with the one supreme motive for our lifetime”
Adapted from article by Peter Brain