The Cross

The cross. A Christian’s trite little symbol of Jesus. Even non-Christians use the cross as a logo or symbol because it’s “cool”. At Mars Hill on Sunday, I was again struck by the power and beauty of what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

Jesus didn’t just say “ok God I’ll die” and get shot or something that ended quickly. No. Crusifixion was the ultimate torture method that the Romans (the best of the best at torture) devised. It was only used for the worst of worst crimes. As Pastor Mark Driscoll shared, the word “excruciating” was created to describe the pain endured during crucifiction. The way people died on the cross was by suffucating. Not only was the body wracked in pain from being nailed in the nerve centers of the body (the wrists and feet) but the criminal could barely breathe on top of that.

So clearly crucifiction was a horrible death. But Jesus wasn’t just crucified. No, before he was crucified, he was beaten and scourged. I’ll spare you the details of scourging because it’s so horrible I can’t write it down. Basically the victim who was scourged had their back turned to raw meat.

To add to all this, they pounded a thorn “crown” into his skull. Not little rose thorns, but big huge thorns. On top of all that, he had to carry his own cross that would have been 200+ pounds.

But why did Jesus do all this, you might ask? Who benefitted from this? Why do Christians say how wonderful the cross is, and wear it as a symbol? Jesus suffered through all this, willingly, because He loves you, me, and everyone. He died a traitor’s death without complaint because He wants us to live in heaven forever with Him and his Father. What did it accomplish? Everything.

You see, everyone sins. Sinning is when you do something that goes against God’s laws. It can be as big as murder or adultery or as small as gossiping or swearing. Since God is a perfect God, He can’t allow sin into his beautiful paradise, heaven. So everyone who has sinned has to go to Hell. Hell is a place of eternal torment. Revelation says there’s fire and brimstone all the time. This is a literal place–if you sin, you really deserve to go there.

But God loved His world and the people He created SO MUCh that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to take our place. Jesus lived a perfect life and so he could make it into heaven, but instead he took upon himself all our sins. So He died in our place–we don’t have to go to hell anymore, if we believe in Jesus and his wonderfully sacrificial gift of life.

But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He conquered death by rising from the dead after 3 days in the grave. Now He sits in heaven, next to God the Father. Jesus wants so desperately for everyone to believe in this wonderful gift. So do I, which is the reason for this post. If you have any questions pick up a Bible, contact a church (I recommend non-denominational Christian churches or Baptist churches), or leave me a comment.

To hear the sermon that inspired this post, visit Mars Hill church online. I don’t believe they have the sermon up yet (as of 5/19/08 ) but will very soon.

For all of you who are Christians, I challenge you to re-think the cross and its HUGE significance to us. It’s not a trite little symbol that we should put on our cars or jewelry. It’s the sum of our all our faith in one item. It’s the demonstration of God’s love, grace, judgement, and wrath in one act.


May 19, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Church, Lessons from God.

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