Friday, April 22, 2011

The Purpose of the Cross

This past Saturday my husband built a 16 foot long, 8 foot wide cross for our church Easter program. So I left the house Saturday morning before he started building it, and when I got home a couple hours later, it was completed. It had to be big enough for a man to be put up on it. And it was massive. It extended from the front of Bryan's truck to about 3 feet off the back of his truck bed. I drove up into our driveway and was captivated by the size of it. And then I asked him how he got it up onto his truck without help. "It was a major undertaking" he told me.

We stood there thinking about the cross that Jesus carried... for us. Imagine: Jesus had been beaten with a cat of nine tails, a whip with pieces of glass and metal shards tied to the ends. His body was literally missing flesh. A crown of thorns was mashed into his scalp and a robe was placed on his bleeding body. Then began the walk down the Via Dolorosa carrying his massive cross. The weight of the heavy wood bearing down on his bleeding back. Splinters adding insult to injury. The side of the cross hammering the crown of thorns even deeper into his head. People spitting on Him. Jesus, so exhausted, is unable to carry the load. So a man is pulled from the crowd to help carry the cross...

Precious Jesus, God in the flesh. At any moment he could have said "no more."  But He didn't.  He continued up the hill and let the soldiers nail him to the cross. Soldiers gambling for his garments. The crowd below yelling "crucify him" and a wooden sign above him (that stated KING OF THE JEWS), mocking him.

Jesus said in John 10:17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Jesus, a perfect man, never knowing sin until our sin was placed on Him on the cross, made the choice to lay down His life for us 2,000 years ago. He chose to take our sin ... and pay the debt payment by His death. No one took it from Him. Not Herod, not Pilate, not the religious leaders, not the soldiers who crucified Him, and not us - the world. He gave His life up willingly so that we could have freedom from our sin.

So precious friends, Jesus died for you! Have you recognized that you are a sinner? If you know you are a sinner, then you are accountable for your sin. But here's the thing - your sin debt is too great for you to ever repay the price. And ultimately you (and me) derserve eternal death (yes I mean Hell) for our sin. BUT the good news is that Jesus HAS PAID YOUR DEBT! And all you have to do is ask for forgiveness of your sin and tell Him that you want Him to be Lord of your life. It's that simple. The Bible says that if you "Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved" (1 John 1:9).

He loves you and me with dying love.

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