“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son …”
The figure of a cross is everywhere: in art, jewelry, songs, books, movies, and much more. The image of a cross is so familiar that the fact that Christ actually died on a cross gets pushed into the shadows.
For people like Saul, later known as the apostle Paul, death by crucifixion was deeply offensive. The Roman cross was a trunk with two branches, and “anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23, NIV; see Galatians 3:13). Nor could Saul imagine a person so cursed being raised from the dead. Later, meeting the risen Jesus personally, bowing down, addressing him as “Lord” (Acts 9:5), Saul was jolted into acceptance and faith. Christ crucified became the centerpiece of Paul’s message.
Christ’s cross may not offend us. We know about it but might take it for granted. But Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus’ death shakes us out of a “ho-hum” attitude about the cross. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities … We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
The cross was our doing. On Good Friday Jesus died because of us—and for us. He was crucified to save us when we were lost in sin. Let us stand quietly at the cross today and let this message sink in.
Father in heaven, our hope is in the cross, our help is in the cross, our glory is in the cross of Jesus. We are awestruck today, and we are humbly grateful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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