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Sunday, November 11, 2007

How the Cross Became Commonplace

The Cross.

How do those words make you feel? Do they make you cringe at the remembrance of what Christ went through for you, or do those words seem commonplace . . . to no affect? If you are a Christian, bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, they should greatly affect you. They should make you feel grateful for the GREAT sacrifice Jesus paid so that you could go to heaven and be saved from the torture of hells’ everlasting fire.

Christ paid the Ultimate Sacrifice. He was beaten until he was unrecognizable, whipped severely, speared in the side, had thorns drove into his head, mocked, and nailed to the cross to die . . . just for us! Because of the cross we are able to talk to Jesus any time we want without going having to go through a priest. Because of the cross we do not have to sacrifice animals as atonement for our sins. The cross has changed our life forever. Never has there ever been such a great sacrifice made for us.

So why is the cross so commonplace? Why does it not bring tears to our eyes every time we hear the words? The cross is no longer treated as something sacred or holy. I’ve seen women dressed in very immodest clothes, showing their bosom, yet they hang a cross around their neck. To them it is just a symbol. I think that is very disrespectful. In no way am I trying to imply that we should worship the cross, but I do believe that we should respect it. The death of Christ is no little matter and we shouldn't treat it as such. If that is so, why are Christians not moved when they hear about Jesus’ crucifixion?

People don’t want to face the gruesome facts. The crucifixion is not a pretty picture. It is not easy to hear the account of his death, even for me. It is bloody, painful, and unpleasant. The picture you see on this post does not show just how bloody he was. When I hear all that he went through I feel deeply ashamed. Ashamed for not thanking him enough and for not doing everything he asks of me. The cross makes people see their selfishness. None of that is fun. Everyone would rather hear the stories of the great miracles he performed or the story of victory in the time of Moses. So we put aside the greatest story in the Bible.

It is not talked about any more. The cross is not preached near as much as it should be. Preachers may mention it in their messages, but how often do they preach solely on Jesus’ crucifixion? Sadly, I can count the times I remember hearing sermons that dealt with the gruesome details of his death on one hand. (I know I have heard more since I was raised in church all my life, but I only remember the ones preached within the last few years.) I can’t begin to count the sermons I’ve heard on prayer and grace. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” It must be important if Paul said that he didn’t care to deal with anything but Christ’s crucifixion!

But we can’t just point our finger at the preachers. We are just as guilty. How often do we talk of what Jesus did for us? I think most of us aren’t even as thankful as we should be. The least we can do is meditate and give thanks for his great sacrifice. By keeping it on our mind we will be more apt to bring it into our conversations.

The message is this. There is nothing commonplace about the cross. When Christians don’t take time to consider this life saving truth, we have lost our focus. It should always be on our mind. If my brother or dad were to die such a horrible death I don’t think I could ever treat the matter as something of little importance.

Jesus gave his all for us! When was the last time we genuinely thanked him?

1 comment:

Sara N. Smith said...

How very true! We so often forget all that Christ did for us - and we're so unworthy deserving of nothing. How I praise Him for His love and sacrifice.