Meditating on the Cross of Christ

the-crossHave you ever wondered why Christians put so much significance on the cross? How can a symbol of horrific cruelty be the sign of unending love?? How can the wood on which our beloved Saviour was crucified be so worthy as to be the centre of our faith? 

This symbol of extreme pain and suffering tells a deeper truth than what was displayed merely on the outside upon Golgoltha’s hill over 2000 years ago. You see, the cross is right at the middle of the old and new testament; and  as the events of our Lord’s crucifixion took place during Passover, it was a sign of moving from one to another (from old to new).

The cross is made of 2 pieces of wood, one vertical and one horizontal. This signifies: the height, depth and width of God’s love that is freely given from past to future generations, to those who will accept it!  

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians.3:17b-19)

Jesus likened His crucifixion to what Moses used when he took a snake and hung it on a pole, to heal the Israelites that were bitten by poisonous snakes due to their disobedience (John.3:14; Numbers.21). How can this be? The cross was a method of death reserved for the worst of sinners/ thieves and murderers. Yet the Purest and Holiest took all our our sins, all our shame and all our curse and carried them upon Himself! The Bible says, He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God!!! (2nd Corinthians.5:21) 

The cross signified all that is evil, all that is sinful and cruel, and JESUS became all of that for us! Isaiah in his 53rd Chapter describes the pain Christ had to endure: 

   He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
 he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.  

The cross was so horrible that you would cover your face from it, there was nothing good to display upon it. Yet, just as the Israelites had to look upon the snake (signifying the curse of sin) on the pole to be healed, we have to look at the Son of God (who became sin and curse for us) to be healed and set free from the poisonous bondage of sin and curse. 

There are 2 reasons why we have to look at the cross: 

  1. When we look at the cross, we come face to face with our true human condition just as in a mirror. We see the wickedness of our heart, our sins, our shame and our curse. We realise that we need a Saviour. 
  2. On the same cross we find The Answer to the above problems. For He, who is displayed right before our eyes is the ONE who took all of them away and bought our freedom and healing with His precious blood!!

14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  (Colossians.2:14-15) How beautiful!!!

Now this sign of evil, sin and curse has become a sign of indescribable, unending, unchanging and unshakeable LOVE!!! God has truly made “beauty out of the ashes”, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” (Isaiah.61:3; Judges.14:14)

And that’s why we glory in the cross –

THE CROSS OF CHRIST, the image of INDESCRIBABLE LOVE! 

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians.6:14

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” – Romans.1:16a

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” ” – 1 Corinthians.1:18

                                           

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No comfort by the graveside

lazarusSaul was once a man of God. He obeyed God and banned any idol worship and witchcraft. Yet, when he realised the Lord wasn’t with him, he thought of no other way than to turn to his old self and things that he once despised to find answers and comfort (1st Samuel.28). He awakened Samuel’s spirit, only to receive his curse and the worst things that lay ahead. 

We, like Saul were once children of darkness, waking in ways we thought best before our eyes. But, when Jesus came and gave us light, we died and were raised to a new life. Our oldself buried in Golgotha, while we walk in the freedom of the new Jerusalem. 

“For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be raised to life as He was. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans.6:5-6)

So why is it from time to time we visit the grave of our old-person, hoping to find comfort? Is there peace or ease in death? I once heard a lady in church give a testimony. She said, “Although I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I find myself putting back on and dragging the chains Christ had already broken and removed from my life.”  It sounds strange to wish for the worst and harmful, when we have already seen their devastating and captivating effects. Yet, that’s what sin does…it waits close by and in your moment of weakness, it drags you from your home of grace back to the grave of your old-self. 

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis.4:7)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1Peter.5:8)

The Christian life is a war, a battle of the mind and heart. Evil intentions of the past against the righteousness of the new spirit. To win, we must train hard (pray), know our battle strategies (the Word of God) and above all learn the voice of our Commander. So that in the midst of the chaotic battle, we may learn to understand His guide. 

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians.5:17)

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans.7:21-25a)

********* “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians.5:1) **********

***Rest***

Star of Bethelehem

 

He had known this all along

But tonight laying in a manger

Up in the sky was a displayed symbol

To remind Him of His purpose

He is the Saviour of the world

 

It stood clearer and brighter  

Than all the stars of the night

Its shape resembled of the figure

On which one day He was to die

 

As His little head lay on the hay

Tears filled His pure, innocent eyes

For in the quietness of this silent night

He saw the horror of Golgotha’s cry

 

This same star brought three visitors

With myrrh, frankincense and gold

Reminding Him of His sacrificial death

His Priesthood as the Prince of Peace

And His Kingship as the God incarnate

 

For us He was born

Laying His majesty aside

He nailed our sins to the cross

By His blood He ransomed us

And made us children of God.

My Lord and my God- JESUS!  

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John.1:14

“13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” – Colossians.2:13-15

“9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew.2:9-11