One of the saddest days in history, while simultaneously being the greatest day, was the day that Jesus died on an ancient Roman cross of execution.
While this is the time of year many are talking about His birth, can we remember and be ready to talk about His death?
What does the CROSS of Christ mean to us? While books can and have been written on this subject, this article will look at just a few aspects of the Cross of Christ.
We have no instructions on how nor when to celebrate His birth, but we do have instructions on how & when to remember His death… His death on a CROSS.
“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the thir d day he shall rise again.” [Matt 20:18-19]
Jesus lived a perfect life free of sin [Heb 4:15; 1Pet 2:21-22]. Yet, His short life on earth ended as if He were the vilest of sinners by being executed on a Cross.
The Cross of Christ means death by CRUCIFIXION. It is the execution of a person by nailing them to a post with their arms outstretched on a cross member lifting the person up on full display to all. Our Savior knew all of this. He told His disciples about it [Mat 16:21; Joh 3:14], and He did it anyway. The Cross of Christ represents CRUCIFIXION still [Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20; 5:24; 6:14].
The Cross of Christ represents REJECTION by His own. The prophet Isaiah foretold this, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” [Isa 53:3] During His last hours on earth, the ones who cried “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” [John 12:13], just days earlier, were calling out for His death. This despite the evidence of scripture, and His own works and words, the Jews REJECTED Him. The Cross of Christ represents REJECTION still. [John 15:18]
The Cross of Christ represents His OBEDIENCE to God the Father. “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” [Mar 14:36; Joh 8:29; Heb 5:7] It amazes me how fervent some will fight against our need for OBEDIENCE to Christ while claiming to follow the example of Jesus. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” [Heb 5:8-9]. The Cross of Christ represents OBEDIENCE still. [2Thess 1:8-9]
The Cross of Christ represents SUFFERING. Jesus suffered even before reaching the cross. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.” [John 19:1; Mark 15:15-20]. The Cross of Christ represents SUFFERING still today; “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;” [1Pet 4:1-2]. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” [2:21].
The Cross of Christ represents SACRIFICE. Jesus died because He was the only acceptable Sacrifice for our sin. The blood of animals can never take away sin, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4], and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” [Heb 9:22]. Christ shed His own blood, becoming, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29, 36]. The Gospel we obey, by which we may be saved, is the Death (on a Cross), Burial, and resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. The death of Christ is God’s grace toward us who deserve nothing from Him. He provided the Lamb, the SACRIFICE [cf. Gen 22:8].
The Cross of Christ represents SACRIFICE still. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” [Rom 12:1; cf. Phil 4:18]
So you see, the Cross of Christ represents so much more than an object to be viewed. What happened on that Cross, and our response to it is what truly matters. May God bless us all.