The Power of the Cross.
|33At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)… 37With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”|
Read Mark 15:21-41
We are fast approaching the Easter season which is the most important season in the Christian calendar. This is what reminds us the cost that God had to pay so as to restore the fellowship between us and Him that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Too bad that many of us just look at the events of the Easter weekend as though they were just normal happenings of the season… but I want to submit to you that we are who we are today because of what happened at the cross. The death of Jesus Christ at the cross meant a lot to our existence to day.
Women of Faith sang a song about God’s grace…
“But for Your grace I could not be saved
but for your grace I would go my way
I’m forever grateful,
That You have been faithful to me, Lord
for Your amazing grace.”
I equate the word ‘Grace’ to “cross”. Were it not for the Cross, we couldn’t be saves. We could have lost our way and footing in this world and above all, we ought to be grateful for the cross. The cross changed everything that concerns us and has made us to be who we are. The question then arises… What is the cross?
Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth and says: “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.” |1 Corinthians 1:18| The death of Jesus on the Cross had a lot of significance but very few people can see or recognize so. This is the reason why Paul spoke to the Corinthians and brought this fact to their attention. And I sit down and wonder how many such Christians we have today who haven’t still recognized the “Power of the Cross” where our Saviour died.
When you look at the cross, you have to angles at which that you will see the cross;
a)You look at the cross and think – that’s pathetic.
b)You look and you think – that’s powerful.
It’s either pathetic or powerful. If you think it’s pathetic, Paul says “you are perishing.” But if you think it’s the power of God, you are being saved. That means you have been plucked from the perishing crowd and set on a one-way street to heaven. But it’s one or the other. And the latter is the main reason why Jesus had to come and die… to display the Power of God and reconcile us back in fellowship with our father and God.
The Cross was a place of ridicule. It was a capital punishment for the offenders. That is why we see Jesus crucified with two robbers… but as Christians, we no longer view it as a place of punishment or ridicule but as a source of strength, power, redemption, forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to our maker.
When you consider what Jesus went through on the cross, you may wonder, “Why did He have to suffer and die like that? Was it really necessary?” Importance of the cross:
1) A source of growth for Christians in their faith as they contemplate the cross. – If you are a believer already, you and I need the message of the cross daily. Paul continues to say; “I’m determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” |1 Corinthians 2:2|. Just accepting Christ is not enough… you need to continually subject ourselves to the message of the cross for our growth and renewal.
2) The cross is a sign or public display of Christ’s love for us. Giving is one of the best ways to show or express Love. And God didn’t withhold his Love for us… He displayed it openly by giving His beloved and begotten son Jesus Christ. “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son…” |John 3:16|. If ever you’re tempted to doubt God’s love for you, look at the cross.
3) At the Cross, Jesus suffered and died to absorb the wrath of God. If God wasn’t not just; there would be no demand for His Son to suffer and die. And if God was not loving, there would be no willingness for His Son to suffer and die. But God is both just and loving. At the cross, God lovingly met His own demand for justice. We have sinned against and have offended God. So a just and loving God sent Jesus as the substitute for us. God’s wrath that should have been placed on us was placed on Him. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us… so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” |Galatians 3:13-14; ESV.|Colossians 2:13–14 says, “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross”.
4) On the cross, Jesus suffered and died to pay the price for our forgiveness and justification. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him” |Romans 5:9 NIV|. Justificationis a powerful and meaningful word used to describe what God has done for those who put their faith in Him. To be justified means to be forgiven of the wrongs we have done. In a legal sense, it means, “Just as if it never happened.” So, God not only forgives you of your debt, He also forgets what you have done. God says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds” |Hebrews 10:17|.
5) The cross gave us access to the throne Room of God. After the death of Christ, the temple curtain tore into two giving us access to the Holy of Holies. Paul tells us “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. |Hebrews 4:16|.
At the cross we have all that we need… if we are only careful to go there and pour ourselves out to our master and Saviour Jesus Christ
PS! This is an article I contributed to the Grace Today Magazine of House of Grace Church (www.houseofgrace.or.ke).
Visit the church and get your free copy of the April 2012 Edition.
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