|18“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.”|
1 Corinthians 1:18
The Cross has always been referred to as a place of pain; Shame and scorn and ridicule… why? This is because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ died there in between two thieves… a death which was condemned so much. It was a Capital punishment for the capital offenders. But what does this tell us? It tells us that Jesus Christ took our place and died the shameful death that we could have died. The bible says that “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” |Romans 6:23|. We were destined to die but because God loved us so much (John 3:16); Christ came and died for us thus we could have life and life in abundance |John 10:10|.
Thus, we need to realize that Easter is the ultimate and most important event in the Christian calendar. Christmas exists for Easter and not vice versa. The birth of Jesus signified the completion of a mission and journey that God had started since the time Man sinned in the Garden of Eden. Jesus had to be born, grow and then get to his Destiny which was the Cross. That was his Sole purpose for coming to the earth… He couldn’t have left the earth and go back to heaven without accomplishing his mission here on earth which was RECONCILING you and me with our creator and father ~ God.
The cross is the only bridge for us to reach the father. Jesus said to the people of Israel as He was preaching to them: “I am the WAY, the TRUTH and LIFE. The only way to the Father is through me.” |John 14:6|. I love the analogy that is given… ever seen the picture that you see a great valley and down there, there is fire and people burning there… and above, you see the Cross linking the two sides of the escarpment or the valley? That is how the cross is. By the virtue of the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross… we are linked to the other side (God) after the cross acts as the bridge to the rift that was created by sin thus separating us from the father.
Many of us have come to the cross and surrendered our burdens and we are now free of our burdens and sin… but too bad that we haven’t left the foot of the cross. We are still there trying to get over our past and move on. We look like we are tethered cows there. We can’t get past there. I want to submit to you that there is POWER beyond the cross and we need to go beyond the cross so that we can be able to experience this power and exercise it. You can never be able to use something that you do not know or have… you have first to have it, then maximize it… thus; for us as Christians, we can only be able to exercise the power that we have from the cross if and only if we go beyond the cross. Thus, for you to exercise the power of the Cross in your life; you ought to be cognizant of the same and thus you can exercise that power.
This is what you experience when you go past/beyond the Cross:
It is only at the cross that we are able to get salvation and forgiveness of our sins. You need to know that SIN in your life is a heavy load/baggage that you can only be able to find rest at the cross. The famous hymn “At the cross” goes…
And the burdens of my heart rolled away;
It was there by FAITH, I received my sight;
And now I am happy all the way”
It is at the cross that we find Light (Salvation). Our burdens are rolled away and we are set free and we have Joy rather than sorrow and worry that engulf us. Paul writes to the church in Corinth and tells them: "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." |1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV|. Through the cross, we are saved and thus we enjoy the joy of salvation and freedom.
Sin made us to be condemned. Remember the curse that God pronounced over man after he sinned in the Garden of Eden? That curse holds us bondage until we come to the realization of the power of the cross. It is only the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross that REDEEMS us from that curse and other curses that come upon us. Paul reminds us that "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." |Galatians 3:13|. At the cross, we are set free from all the curses and we are set free. We leave the cross without any form of bondage… we have is freedom and liberty to enjoy.
Sin separates us from God, and God hides his face from the sinner. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the bible tells us that they were chased from the garden and an angel was set to guard the garden (See Genesis 3:23) thus, we were separated from God. There was no more fellowship between man and God that used to be at the cool of the day. (See Genesis 3:8). Then, the bible reminds us that “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” |Romans 3:23|. Not only have we all sinned but |Romans 6:23| says, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The service of sin pays wages of eternal death. The Bible also tells us “The soul that sins, it shall die.” |Ezekiel 18:20|. The truth of this is that the soul that continues in sin shall die an eternal death. We cannot be sinners and continue in it, and expect to go to heaven. But by the virtue of the death of Jesus at the cross… we are reconciled to God. For “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” |Isaiah 59:1-2.| Once we renounce our sins, we get reconciled to God. Paul tells us “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." |Hebrews 4:16 NIV|
d) The Cross gives us Face value as Christians and Identity:
Sin disfigures us and we lose our identity. God can’t be able to identify himself with us because of our sin. But because he loves us so much, He couldn’t stand and watch us get lost; thus, because of His love for us His creation, |John 3:16| tells us that He gave His one and only begotten son ~ Jesus Christ. Jesus shed His blood on the cross so that we could be cleansed from our sins and reconciled to our father. Paul then reminds us that "you were bought at a price…” |1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV|. The blood of Jesus was so costly but it had to be shed soul that He could pay our ransom for us to be reconciled to God. Peter goes ahead and tells us that, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." |1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV| Since our SINS had separated us from God, thus, we were not a people but Christ redeemed us and gave us identity and value.
e) The Cross restores us back Dominion, Rulership and Authority over the devil:
When the devil was hurled to the earth, he came and deceived man; took the rulership and authority of the earth and that is why, the bible calls him the “prince of the earth” (see John 12:31). But with the death and resurrection of Jesus, we got back our authority. Jesus peaking to His disciples after resurrection, He told them “… All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." |Matthew 28:18 NKJV| This means that all the power is restored to us as Christians since we are brothers with Jesus by the Virtue that we received Christ and became the sons of God. |John 1:12|. In |Luke 10:19|, Jesus told his disciples, "I have given you power and authority to trample on snakes and scorpions… And they will not harm us" This tells us that we have the rights to exercise power and authority of who we are in God through Christ Jesus and He is our link to the father.
f) The Cross restores back to us our birthright/Inheritance:
When we sinned, we lost our birthright and inheritance. But I thank god for the cross. It is a public display of God’s love for us. The bible records that God loved us so much and His desire of a life time was to be reconciled with His people; the creation of His hands. And thus, through the coming of His son Jesus, the bible says "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” |John 1:12-13 NKJV| Thus, if we became the children of God… we are children born of the Spirit (God) … and thus "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God… For you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…" We get back our inheritance by the virtue of the Cross. More so, |Galatians 3:13| tells us that “Christ redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." We are partakes of the blessings of Abraham too by the virtue of the cross.
At the cross, Jesus was crucifies with His arms wide open.. This is a clear and public display of God’s Love for us as His people and creation. When I look at the cross, I do not see shame, ridicule or pain, but all I see is LOVE. The wide stretched arms of Jesus were an indicator of God saying to me… “Son, I love you this much.” My Love for you is this wide… you can’t go round it; my love for you is this high, you can’t go over it and yet so low that you can’t get under it.
How I pray that this season we will realize that the Cross is a place of Love, restoration and a source of Power for us rather than a place of Shame pain and ridicule. May you experience the TRUE power and Essence of Easter this year.
PS: This is a message I shared on Truth FM Breakfast Show.