Why the Cross?
Originally scheduled for September 24
It seems odd to some people that the symbol of Christianity is a
cross. Crucifixion is a painful and humiliating way to die, yet
millions of Christians proudly display it as the sign of their
belief. Why this symbol? It is for the death of Christ that we wear
it. Why is Christ’s death so important?
righteous and just; it is one of his attributes and he cannot be
untrue to himself. Righteousness demands atonement for sin, a lesson
planted firmly in the Jews. But if all righteousness - pure
righteousness - is to be fulfilled, then the sacrifice of atonement
must be pure also. The standard of righteousness is God’s standard,
not ours. Only the sinless man could be the atonement we need for
God is righteous, but God is
also love. His objective is not just to atone for us (and then let
us be) but rather reconcile us to himself. He is not interested in
burying the hatchet - he wants to eliminate the hatchet entirely. So
atonement is necessary - but not sufficient. Reconciliation is
required. Atonement requires that the price be paid; reconciliation
that it be paid willingly.
There is no greater love than this:
that a man die for his friends. Christ’s sacrifice was not a spur of
the moment thing. It was planned. Crucifixion is not only a painful
death but a shameful one. It marked you as outside the law. Worse
yet, this crucifixion was accompanied by abandonment and betrayal.
That is the measure of God's love for us - a love which stretches
beyond atonement to reconciliation.
tells us to "take up your cross and follow me." If nothing else, the
cross is our great example. If we claim to be his disciples; then
what is there that we should not be willing to do?
crucifixion — the sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood — is what we
are to remember today in communion. In the bread we should see his
body hanging on the cross; in the cup, his blood. As you partake,
remember. Remember that he died for you, atoning for your sins.
Remember that he reconciled you to God Almighty, so that you are now
a child of God. Remember that he has set you the example of
sacrifice. Think on these things as you partake.