The subject we will discuss is one, if not the most important one we must confront in life. This subject is inexhaustible, its weight immense and its power unlimited. One writer has this to say about it:
“There is not a person born or unborn, there is not a decision that anyone has made or will make that (this) does not stand a witness to and a judge of.”
What are we talking about? We are talking about the cross of Jesus Christ. As the great Apostle wrote:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)
The Cross Is At The Center
“The cross stands at the center of everything”.
Earth would not be the same after 33 A.D. on the day Jesus Christ was crucified. The earth from that day forward would no longer spin on an axis spanning the North and South poles. The earth now spins on the axis of Calvary’s cross spanning the Heaven and the earth.
The natural human mind balks when confronted with what Jesus accomplished at Calvary. Our minds stop and resist the notion that Jesus defeated death, sin, hell and the grave. Why? Because of accountability. It is said that we are only accountable for what we know:
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)
We no longer have an excuse since Calvary. It is said that at the end of his life and facing death W. C. Fields was seen reading the Bible. Being very out-of-character behavior for those who knew who him asked him why he was reading God’s word. His response was: “I’m looking for a loophole”.
There are no loopholes. But, there is a door available. The true light has arrived. We have hope. Calvary’s cross is as relevant today as it was over 2,000 years ago. The poignancy of Calvary’s love has not diminished through the wearing and grating effects of time and space. The voice of Calvary still speaks. Like the blood of Abel that cried from the earth (Gen 4:10), Jesus’ blood yet cries from earth’s dust:
“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”.
The sounds of Jesus’ sacrifice resound through time – the voice of love, the voice of mercy, the voice of grace and the voice of forgiveness:
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:34
The cross is the only true escape from this fleshly cage of dust and bones.
Several years ago in Bible school, a guest speaker who is a Pastor of a church in the state spoke in our class. His comments were noteworthy:
“Our world operates in tension. There is a constant tension going on in our lives that pull us between Heaven and earth”.
This continuous tension is the result of the pressure cooker of the struggles and strain between life and death, light and darkness, the Spirit of God and the flesh, righteousness and sin and between Heaven and earth.
In the midst of his trial Job could not see beyond his despair:
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,
Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness. (Job 10:1, 20-22)
The cross of Jesus Christ is the only legitimate and certain bridge of truth to get us through the darkness. The Lord will test our mettle to see of what material it is. Since everyone is given “a measure of faith” (Rom 12:3), the Lord will test it to make it pure:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:7)
If we fail to grasp the salvation God makes available to us and the hope of the Gospel, we will succumb to what is termed “The Malady of America” which is defined by discontentment and ungratefulness. The Lord has the abundant life for us (John 10:10) to escape the dregs of this age.
The Cross’ Shadow
There is something special about someone who is a true cross bearer. Surely there are people you know or have known in your life who have left or leave lasting impressions in your spirit because of their commitment to godly and eternal matters. It is because of the cross they bear. Jesus instructs us to bear our “own cross” (Lk 14:27). For these individuals, Calvary casts a shadow wide and deep over their lives. It is unmistakable and cannot be faked or insincerely fabricated.
These people are the “real deal”. Why is this important? Because cross bearing is a true indicator of the depth and breadth of someone’s spiritual walk. How is this validated? Because the closer you are to Jesus the heavier your cross becomes. There is scripture to substantiate this claim.
All three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) record the account of Simon the Cyrenian being “compelled” to carry Jesus’ cross. However, Luke’s account of Simon is different from the other two Gospels. Luke, being the detailed-oriented of the three, with his keen, scientific skills of observation coloring his writing (he is the one who wrote in details more than Matthew or Mark) gives us one additional noteworthy tidbit of information:
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. Luke 23:26
Luke lets us know that Simon was following right behind Jesus bearing his cross. Simon’s “cross” was literally Jesus’ cross. And Simon was closer to Jesus on his ascent to Golgotha than anyone else. You are never more close to Jesus than when you bear the weight of the salvation of souls upon your shoulders as Jesus leads them towards Calvary’s hill. This is true cross-bearing. This is what true Christianity is. This is what eternity demands.
Eternity In View
Eternity. Such a remote and distant concept that we cannot even begin to discern or comprehend it. But, a voice is speaking of its nearness. And the older one gets the louder the voice becomes. A Pastor recently spoke on the topic. His reasoning is that our walk of faith and the challenges looming on the horizon meant to extinguish it cannot survive without eternity in view. We must live life with eternity in the forefront of our minds.
Jesus spoke of an “outer darkness” three times (Mat 8:12, 22:13 & 25;30). Outer darkness is the second death, a place of eternal separation from God. I don’t want to go there. Either do you. This subject and the mention of Hell are not popular topics in today’s modern church age. Nonetheless, it is the Word of God.
Faith in the redemption found in the Cross of Jesus Christ and God’s expression of love at Calvary are able to preserve you and keep you from the judgment of God against the sin of this world to come (I Peter 4:17-18).
The cross of Jesus proves to us God’s great investment in and compassion for souls. The cross calls for the total surrender and commitment of our lives to him.
“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow”. Jesus Paid It All by Elvina Hall
Jesus has paid it all friend. Be Blessed!