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The Cross of Christ

I've done this once before, way back in Issue 37. Issue 37 was about Grace, but instead of spewing my ideas about Grace, I gave you all a bunch of quotes about Grace. This issue is about the Cross. But you've probably all read or know what I have to say on the subject. So here is an adventure in thought on the Cross.

 

Jesus really died. . . . Tacitus, a Roman historian, confirmed that Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus. We know that the Romans were pretty good at this crucifixion stuff. They lay open their prisoners back with a whip and nailed their feet and hands to a wooden cross. The people would die of suffocation because every breath meant standing up on the nails in their feet and scraping their backs on the wooden cross to take a breath. Eventually the people grew too tired and didn't breathe anymore. A spear was stuck in Jesus' side and blood and water flowed out separately. This would mean that the pericardium, the sac of fluid that surrounds the heart, was enlarged with fluid. Basically Jesus died of a broken heart. In Jesus' case he was in a solid stone tomb with a huge rock in front of it. Some think the rock weighed at least a ton. A special Roman seal and a well-trained guard were placed in front of the tomb, to tell everybody not to mess with place.

-Dave Overholt

 

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

-John 19:30 (NASB)

 

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

-Paul from Tarsus, Colossians 3:13-14 (NASB)

 

i want to say that the cross of jesus means everything to me... i know that is the good christian response... but unfortunately i do not feel that way.

-Lynne Rasmussen

 

I cannot begin to unfold the meaning of the death of Christ without first confessing that much remains a mystery.

-John Stott

 

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

The emblem of suff'ring and shame;

And I honour that cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,

Till my burdens at last I lay down,

And by grace I will carry my cross,

And exchange it some day for a crown.

-Rev. George Bennard

 

Who's that man they made Him a prisoner

They tortured Him and nailed Him to a tree

Was He so bad who did He threaten

Did He deserve to die between two thieves

-Rich Mullins

 

All I am and hope for is forever riveted to that mysterious moment that freezes history in focus: the cross of Christ! At that pivot of time where nothing moves, I find both excellence and shame. There Jesus' sacrificial death stands embarrassingly close to my self-centeredness. There I bring my greed and beg his generosity. There I bring my trivial whimperings and marvel again how far his suffering is willing to go.

-Calvin Miller

 

The cross is where the love and truth of God was most perfectly manifested.

-Matthew J. Slick

 

The cross means freedom. Freedom from sin, yes. Definitely. But more than that. Freedom from guilt--it is an introduction to Grace--to the wild uncontainable Love of God. Because Jesus died, I am free. I still sin, I still hate the sin, but I know that God has freed me from the sin. The Cross is an introduction to Love so great that I cannot comprehend it--God loves me no matter what. It is the start of Life, the start of my salvation, the way that I can know God and can dare say that I love Him.

-Will Ferrey

 

Well I've heard it said that a man would climb a mountain

Just to be with the one he loves

How many times has he broken that promise?

It has never been done

Well I've never climbed the highest mountain, but I walked the hill of Calvary

Just to be with you I'd do anything

There's no price I would not pay

Just to be with you I'd give anything

Yes, I'd give my life away

-Third Day

 

If I had to use one word to describe His [Jesus'] Cross, I would say that in it is our Hope satisfied.

-Jonathan Hoskin

 

The cross means to me . . . that Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, and the last for our sins, that we are free from the bondage of sin. That this innocent wonderful man (GOD) died for me before I was in my Mother's womb. That he arose to tell us he would be coming back for us, that he was going to prepare my place in heaven. How wonderful!

-Reba

 

The cross not only substituted Christ's sinlessness for our filth, it also substituted His life for ours. So God looks at us as though we have lived Christ's life. Perfect. Because we accepted His sacrifice.

-Jesse Robertson (based on Peg Peters)

 

The cross represents the death of Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour, who through his own death and resurrection spared us from eternal death in hell and granted us instead the best resurrection we could ever imagine; because of what Jesus did on the cross for us, we are able to live for eternity with the Creator of the universe, the Author and Perfector of our Faith, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Ancient of Days, the Rock, the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, YHWH Himself, the Lord God Almighty! And that's really cool!

-Josh Arnold

 

Both truth and love are based on the cross of Christ. At the cross we see the perfection of truth and love realized together on the hard lines of that bloodied tree. It is true that Jesus died and rose again. It is true that His love for us bought us our salvation. It is true that the cross is the only hope for mankind. It is true that people need to die to themselves. It is true that love is sacrificial and that it can cost us our lives. It is true that there is such a thing as sin and it is true that we can point out what is right and wrong in the world because Jesus lived what was right and wrong, died, and rose from the dead to prove that what He was true.

-Matthew J. Slick

 

The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.

-Oswald Chambers

 

Citations

Arnold, Josh; Will Ferrey, Jonathan Hoskin, Lynne Rasmussen, Jesse Robertson, and Reba. Personal e-mails to editor.

Bennard, George. "The Old Rugged Cross." From The Book of Common Praise. Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1938. Hymn 786.

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Discovery House, 1935. April 6.

Miller, Calvin. Once Upon a Tree. Baker Book House Company, 1967, 1991. p. 7.

Mullins, Rich. "Surely God Is with Us." From The Jesus Record. Nashville: Myrrh Records, 1998.

Overholt, Dave. Reasons to Believe. Church on the Rock Publishing, 2001. p. 45.

Slick, Matthew J. 1) CARM Newsletter 10/17/2002 2) CARM Newsletter 10/04/2002

Stott, John. Basic Christianity. London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1999. p. 86.

Third Day. Offerings. Essential Records.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Copyright 2004, Matthew Hoskin