Summary: The cross symbolizes how God can take all the bad things in our lives, and transform them into something good.
It’s been a hot, hot summer! Tyler usually averages five days a year where the temperature goes above 100 degrees. This summer we set a new record with 47 consecutive days over 100. How hot is it? Potato farmers are digging their potatoes out of the hot ground and you don’t even have to bake them—just add butter and salt and they’re ready to eat!
Someone sent me a picture in front of a Texas church with this on the sign: SATAN CALLED. HE WANTS HIS WEATHER BACK. He can have it! I was pumping gas the other day and a guy who obviously didn’t know who I was looked across at me and said, “It’s hotter than hell today.” I smiled and said, “Yeah, it’s hot, but my Bible tells me that hell is going to be a lot hotter than this.” He didn’t reply, just turned his back and kept pumping. He probably thought, “Who is this religious nut?”
The Bible teaches there are only two eternal destinations for people: Heaven and hell. Today I want to talk about the Miracle of the Cross. If you will claim this miracle as your own, you will never spend a moment in the place called hell, where they’re still setting a record for consecutive days over 1000 degrees.
How amazing is it that the cross has become a symbol of hope for millions of people? When Jesus was crucified, the cross was nothing more than an instrument of execution. It was an instrument of horrific pain and suffering. Wearing a cross around your neck would be like wearing a little miniature electric chair, or a hangman’s noose. God took the most horrible experience of pain, suffering, and humiliation in history, and He turned it into something good—our redemption. So the cross symbolizes how God can take all the bad things in our lives, and transform them into something good. It stands for God’s power to change whatever is tormenting and destroying us into something that is a blessing.
God has placed reminders of the cross throughout His universe. You might have heard Louie Giglio’s story of being here in Tyler when a molecular biologist told him about laminin, the basic protein molecule that maintains our metabolism. When Louie went back and Googled it, he was shocked to discover the laminin molecule is shaped like a cross. God placed a microscopic reminder in our body of the power of the cross.
Three weeks from today we are hosting a special 10-year remembrance service for the 9/11 attacks on America. After the World Trade Towers crumbled, workmen immediately begin to remove the rubble looking for survivors. On September 12, one of the workmen looked up in the rubble and saw a huge cross twenty feet tall. This cross became a place of worship and wonder for the crews. It was later moved to a church and it has just been installed in a prominent place outside the new WTC museum as a reminder of how God can bring hope out of suffering.
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy
The Hubble Telescope has been orbiting the earth since 1990 taking pictures into deep space. On June 8, 1992 it took a picture of the center of the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy which is 23 million light years from our galaxy. The picture of the core revealed a massive black hole shaped like a cross. It may look small, but width of the cross is 1,100 light years across. That means if you could travel at 186,234 miles per second, it would take you over a thousand years to get from one side of the cross to the other. Scientists believe the black hole has been there millions of years. It’s as if God is saying, “I’m glad you finally got here, because this is what I wanted to show you.”
But the cross is so much more than a symbol. It’s a miracle. Let’s open our Bibles and read about the miracle of the cross.
Matthew 27:27-37, 45-54. “Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.