For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 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 1:17-18 1:13 (NKJ)
Our Lenten 2018 devotional writings have explored “The Journey of the Cross”. The intent of this series was to help us as believers understand and emulate the sacrifice and obedient behavior Christ demonstrated on His journey “to” the Cross. We have done this through both reading and personal response—reflective Bible reading and prayer, journaling, and practicing acts of contemplation (solitude and reflection). It is now time to evaluate if we have been successful in our attempt as we end our series with this question, “What does the Cross mean to you?”
What does the Cross mean to you? Is it an object on which Christ was crucified? Or is it a piece of jewelry that you wear? Our view of the Cross is critical in that it establishes the basis of our Christian belief and personal walk of faith. In the routine of daily living, we often forget Christ’s work of grace on the Cross. Unfortunately, most believers are only superficially drawn to the Cross giving attention to it only during the sacrament of communion or at Easter. It is critical that we clearly define the Cross’ significance so that we might re-engage its purpose and power in our life.
Christian doctrine is founded on “the Cross.” Our belief about sin and salvation begin and end at the Cross (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). Our identity as children and heirs of God (1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:17) are established by our knowledge of what Christ accomplished on the Cross.
To Jesus Christ, the Cross signified lordship and commitment to Him. He told those who would follow Him that unless they were willing to bear His cross, they could not be His disciple (Luke 14:27). Christ has not altered His requirement for discipleship in the twenty-first century. The Cross demands commitment.
To Paul and other New Testament writers, the Cross represented the Good New (Gospel) of Jesus Christ. This gospel was to be clearly articulated to those identified in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)—Jesus Christ died for sin, He rose from the dead, and “whosoever believeth in Him” shall have everlasting life. The gospel message remains the same in the twenty-first century. The Cross is salvation.
To Christians, the Cross recounts God’s extraordinary act of love. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). George Matherson penned in his hymn these words:
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
God’s plan of salvation did not come as an “after thought” but was formed in eternity (Eph. 1:4-7). Before the Fall, God set in motion His plan of salvation to return beloved man to Himself. The Cross reveals the very heart of God (2 Cor. 4:6).
The Cross strengthens Christian’s confidence in the power of God. Jesus was the decided Victor on Resurrection Sunday. God disarmed and shamed Satan by His victory at the Cross. Believers therefore reverence the Cross, not as a material object seen in isolation, but as the instrument of Christ’s triumph (Col. 2:13-15). The Cross witnesses God’s goodness and greatness.
Return to the Cross and Christ’s life-transforming love. Return to the Cross and re-discover power that will never pass away.
Jesus keep me near the cross
There’s a precious fountain
Free to all a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain
In the Cross,
In the Cross,
Be my glory ever,
‘Til my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Have a blessed Easter. Hallelujah, He is Risen!
This week we will complete our “Journey of the Cross” by sharing our answers to last week’s response activity. You were to choose the one (1) contemplative discipline you felt most comfortable in practicing. As you journal, answer these four (4) reflective questions:
- Did you experience God in this discipline? If not, then why not.
- What did you learn about God? The Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Ghost specifically.
- What did you learn about yourself? Your fears, your faith, your purpose.
- How will your life change as a result of experiencing God?
We have created a special group on Facebook for our WordBytes Community to post your responses. Input “WordBytes Community” into your “search window” and then post your response then share what you have learned on your “Journey of the Cross”. Thanks for being part of our family.