Summary: God took the vilest, ugliest, most sinful thing and by His love, transformed it into something that we would wear around our necks, or place in a our sanctuaries. Is there something in your life that He could do the same to?
Tell your neighbor, "There is a message in the cross and you need to know what it is!" Then look at your other neighbor and ask, "What is the message of the cross?" Chris was explaining basic Christian theology to Jen when they were quit a bit younger. He said, “You see Jen, it was Jesus’ job to die for our sins; it’s our job to sin.”
You can be sure that America is no longer a Christian nation when the children ask their parents why all those churches have plus signs on top of them… and their parents don’t know!
I. The cross represents pain. Would you agree that the words cross and pain are somewhat synonymous? Any skim of the surface, little on in depth, study would show the pain that the cross carried with it. We have heard the story of the crucifixion so much that we overlook and underestimate just what Christ went through. We have a tendency to belittle, or overemphasize certain elements that relate to biblical characters. I believe that in Christ’s case, we belittle what He has done for us.
Let’s ask, “So what”. What does that do for me? It does a lot more than we can get into today. Let me ask you this, do you appreciate a boss that has not experienced what you have? Is it fun working for a boss that tries to tell you how to do your job, when she has not been through the same circumstances, or had to meet the same expectations? No! However, we have a God that so loved us that He was willing to experience all the pain that this world could offer. Therefore He can sympathize with our weakness. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4:15-16.
II. The cross represents persecution. It was a tool
of torture. The cross was used as much to intimidate people into doing what the government wanted as much as it was used to torture those who fell to its prey. For those unlucky souls that fell to its prey, the cross was used as an example to anyone else who might be thinking of doing the same crime. So how should we deal with the persecution in our lives? Take what is happening before God, remembering that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, and listen to what He has to say. Remember, He experienced persecution just so that He would understand what you are going through, as well as for you to understand that He can overcome it!
III. The cross represents public dishonor, humiliation, and exposure. Christ experienced ultimate public humiliation, and dishonor. He was publicly mocked, beaten, and much more, but ultimately having to hang on a cross almost completely naked.
Don’t you love it when they print who is getting divorced in the newspaper? How do we deal with public humiliation? We trust the One who experienced more than we could dream to sustain us! We must realize that when Christ went through all of that, it was to please His Father. He wasn’t trying to please us, or Rome, or anyone else. It doesn’t matter what others think about you. What matters is what God thinks about you. In the end, God will show everyone who you are in Him!
IV. The cross represents God’s power. The cross represents the ugliest man can do. The vilest, most evil, and painful event that man could create. It represents the worst man can offer. It represents our sinful state. Yet God took our worst, placed all of the sin of the world on Christ’s shoulders, placed Christ on the cross to die, and ultimately turned our worst into something beautiful, and cherished. The cross has become something that we would wear around our necks, or place in our sanctuary of worship.
God can do that with you. What is your vilest event? What is your most painful memory? What is you most sinful thought or deed? That which you classify as “worst” God, through repentance and His healing, can create it into something treasured, a blessing and opportunity of experiencing God’s transformational power.
Today God stands before us, yielding the cross as His example and asks, “What is it in your life that you want me to transform into beautiful?” Do you know He can transform divorce/troubled marriages into something good? Public humiliation, pain, persecution and much more can be turned into a deeper experience with God.
Do you realize that God can turn an abused person’s life into a tool that gives Him glory? Again all of the public/secret humiliation, pain, persecution can be transformed into healing.