I love the Cross!
I love the cross of Christ! I love everything about it!
How many of you have seen a cross? Whether it be on someone’s neck or in front of a church?
Can I share a thought with you about the cross?
The cross in ancient cultures was viewed a lot different than today. In fact, even the early church didn’t associate themselves with the cross to begin with.
You see, the cross was a horrific symbol of the day. To see a cross meant to see a man beaten, bruised, and humiliated before others. Let me give you a quick visual of what the cross would have looked like:
1. Before the cross, the victims would have been beaten until they were a few inches from death and then cared back into a little better health so that they could withstand the initial pains of the cross and hang longer.
2. The cross would have been very rough wood, that would have been covered in the blood, urine, and feces its previous victim.
3. The cross would have not been 20 feet talk like we see in the movies, but more around 6 to 7 feet so its victim could be in reach of spectators.
4. The cross would have been in a very public location, so that as many people as possible could see its naked and beaten victim.
5. The cross would have been placed in a very open area so that the sun could radiate down, severely dehydrating its victim. Then the soldiers surrounding the cross would dip a sponge into a basin of water, used for cleaning the buttocks, and wipe the victim’s face which would have been covered in cuts and bruises.
I hope that this paints an accurate picture of what the early church people would have thought whenever they would have seen the cross.
So Why the Cross?
So back to my earlier statement of “I love the Cross!” Why would I say such a thing in light of everything that I just said? Am I crazy? Am I some sort of sick-o with a weird fetish?
I don’t think so… or at least I hope not!
Let me share with you a passage from Scripture, which I hope will explain my statement:
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others, 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. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
I would like to make a few comments about this passage in light of everything that I have just shared.
- The passage tells us that Jesus had no beauty to attract us to him. I personally believe that Jesus was an ugly man. I believe this because the passage tells us that he was the kind of person people would hide their faces from. No one wanted to look upon Him.
- The passage tells us that Jesus was a man of suffering, rejected by others, and familiar with pain. Jesus knew what it was like to hurt. Most of us probably know what it’s like to hurt on some level as well.
- The passage tells us that he did all of this for a reason. That he was ugly, sorrowful, hated, and punished for a particular purpose. “He was pierced for my transgressions, he was crushed for my iniquities; the punishment that brought me peace was on him, and by his wounds I am healed.”
I say all of this in the 1st person because I have experienced this. I know it to be true. Nobody talked me into it. No book or author has won me over. No preacher “convicted” or converted me. No church taught me the “right” way to live. No program has saved me. And no amount of money could lead me away. Christ Crucified alone has changed my heart. Christ Crucified alone has changed my actions effecting the way I live. Christ Crucified alone has convicted me and converted me to a cause greater than myself. Christ Crucified alone has saved me- not just from the death of sin, but from the problem of myself!
I have experienced this to be true. I have tasted and I have seen. Just to let you in to my life a little: I was raped and beaten as a child. My parents divorced. So statistically, I should be in a gutter doing drugs, but I’m not- I am a pastor. Statistically, I should be addicted to child pornography, but I’m not- I have a beautiful wife. Statistically, I should be hateful person and long for death to take me, but I’m not- I love life and look forward to tomorrow.
With everything said, I leave you with one simple statement “I love the Cross!” Not because of anything that I have done, but because of the One who has done everything for me! Thank you for listening and I hope that this has been an encouragement to your soul.