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***

Crucified Man

This amazing song by Graham Kendrick summarizes very well the events of Good Friday and our place in it. ❤

My favourite part of the song is: 

“I believe as they beat on His beautiful face
He turned a torturer’s chair to an altar of grace
Where the worst we can do met the best that God does
Where unspeakable hate met the gaze
Of unstoppable love
At the crux of it all there He hangs
I’ve placed my hope in a crucified Man”

God’s perfection, our imperfection

1. Looking to God who is perfect 

At times its easy to sing and ask God to open our eyes that we may see Him in all His majesty and glory and holiness. Well as I asked God this, I realised how great His majesty, how magnificent His glory and how pure His holiness is. 

 

2. Looking at myself who is completely imperfect and far from it

 I saw a filthy, unworthy person standing before the King of kings. I felt that I don’t belong there, I can never be His child or Him to be my Father, for ‘the chasm is far too wide’.  My imperfection seemed far too much and far too wide to allow me reach the other side. 

 

3. Looking to Jesus my righteousness! 

He took all my imperfection, all my wrongs, all my weaknesses and short comings, nailed it to the cross. As He rose in glory He also clothed me with His perfect righteousness and presented me clean before the Father, that He may ‘look on Jesus and pardon me’. 

 

All three have taught me some great lessons. Looking at GOD for who He is and not who I think He is. This helped me to recognise where I stand in comparison to His majesty and recognising my need for a Saviour. Thank You Jesus for being the way! 

‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”‘ – John.14:6

 

 

Almighty GOD

 

Almighty God

 

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a Son is given,
    and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah.9:6

NB- this is my 100th post and I want to thank God for the many great things He taught me so far in this blog and many others I follow, looking forward to see what He has in store.

Jesus to me…

My sins for His righteousness

This poem is inspired by this blog post: http://tworiversblog.com/2013/05/31/the-great-substitution-53113/

They say You were a great teacher

Who taught what He practiced

A man with real passion

To those who would listen.

 

They say You were a great physician

Who healed the sick and bed ridden

Without any charge or fee for Your touch

You took away all their pain.

 

Yet some say You were the greatest prophet

Who heard and taught the Word of God

You turned the harlot hearts to their God

That they may live according to the law.

 

But to me, Jesus You are more

What they didn’t realise was

That You were the Word of God

Who took the requirements of the law

And took the punishment for my sin it demand

 

An innocent life exchanged for my shame

Took upon Yourself all of my pain

Yes, You didn’t escape the cross

But carried it on Your shoulders

To Calvary where You gave Your life

That I may live with You forever

 

No one died for You

But You gave Yours for free to everyone

To those who would accept the gift of love

No sin or condemnation freedom forever

 

Jesus, You won the grave 3 days after

For You are God, the champion of heaven

Lord of the universe, rebuking the storm

Giving me peace and assurance of grace

For now and the life to come! 

I will rise

1CORINTHIANS.15:51-58

“51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[i]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Aside

Prayer for the day: Dear Lord, I don’t know how I can do this, but as I lay my burden before the feet of Your cross, please help me to leave it there and not pick it up again after the Amen! As Your word says,

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew.11:28-30

I know that my heavy laden is in the best Hands that carry the whole of the universe with one lift. You are in control. Thank You Lord! Amen!

Prayer for the day: Dear Lord, I don’t

What kind of love?

Victor Hugo- les miserables

Throughout history and even in our day to day walk we hear and observe great testimonies of selfless love. If we ever ask ourselves what the Bible means when it says, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, it is actually a much deeper and harder concept to put into practice. 

I ask myself, “isn’t doing something good, good enough? Isn’t that love?” Yet, God taught me that its not just about what you do, but also your attitude towards what you do. To love means, to be there for your neighbor even when you don’t feel like it. And that is the hardest part, as the question, “why should I?” creeps up to your mind. 

This is what the Bible says about God and Love… 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” – 1John.4:7-12

Now when I see this kind of love that the Father Has lavished upon me unreservedly, the love that I show to others fades in comparison to this perfect love. My moaning heart melts in the presence of the cross and the amazing love displayed before it. The cross reminds me how great a sinner I am and how much the Father loved me that He sent His Son willingly to die in my place and give me the crown of being called ‘the daughter of The King’!

Now then there will be days when it is hard to love, but that’s when we should show the most love, for only then do we display God’s perfect love in our lives.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1Corinthians.15:58

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians.6:9

Remember- we love because God loved us first, not because we are lovely, so ‘that no one may boast.’