Summary: A message sharing the significance of the cross of Christ.
The Cross Of Christ
Luke 23:32-33 "And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left."
Gal 6:14 "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."
To many, a cross is a mere trinket to hang around the neck; intended to make a vague assertion about one's religious pedigree. To some, the symbol has be- come the substance. Remember the story of the brazen serpent in the Numbers Chapter 21? Remember Jesus repeating the story to Nicodemus when He told him he must be born again in John Chapter 3? Do you know what happened to that brazen symbol? "He (Good King Hezekiah) removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan." (II Kings 18:4)
Some idolatrous Israelites handed the symbol down through dozens of genera- tions. They came to worship the symbol rather than the substance. Rather than the God whose healing grace and mercy the symbol represented. In essence, this symbol, just as the cross, represented Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin.
When you really think about it, such idolatrous representations of true Chris- tianity can be seen in some strange places and worn by some strange people today. Have you ever thought that some people who like to wear such crosses seem to personify everything else except real Christian committal? Notice, if you will, the number of drug promoting rock stars, promiscuous Hollywood personali- ties, alcohol consuming sports heroes and pretentious politicians, who seem to have a curious affinity for such sad secular symbolism.
But in spite of misuse and misrepresentation, the cross is a powerful symbol. An old hymn says it well, "In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o'er the wrecks of time; All the light of sacred story, Gather 'round its head sublime..."
Out of the midst of moral devastation and the wreck, ruin and turmoil of vio- lence and destruction in today's world, the cross of Jesus Christ towers as a symbol. It is a symbol of the worst and the best. It is a symbol of hate and love, Death and life, Judgment and forgiveness. Despair and hope. Defeat and triumph.
It was the apostle Paul who was inspired to state the real eternal significance of the Cross of Christ when he said, "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." (Gal 6:14 ) Most would agree that Paul, with the exception of Jesus, was the greatest man of God and gospel preacher who ever walked this earth and perhaps the finest Christian the world has ever known. It is significant that he would make this statement at the end of his way.
If anyone had anything to boast about in the flesh, Paul certainly did. He could have gloried in his ancestry and his pedigree. Both a Roman citizen and possibly a future High Priest of Israel, before he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. A brilliant man of great intellect. A man of great persuasive powers. A man of literary genius. The first and greatest of all Christian missionaries.
But Paul tells us: (Phil. 3:4-8) "If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Phari- see: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ."
He did not glory in the Virgin Birth, the miracles or ministry of Christ or his own marvelous miracles. Instead he turned to the one central thing, the single- most important event of human history, the cross of Christ.
Sir John Bowring, one time governor of Hong Kong looked over a terrible devastated area struck by an earthquake and saw standing high above the ruins like a lonely sentinel the tower of a church. On the top of the tower, the silhouette of a cross pierced the sky. The sight so moved him he penned the words of the grand old hymn of the faith: