What is the Cross? – by Desmond Ford

Nov 13, 2015 1840

What is the crossThe cross is not just an ornament to put around the neck. The cross is not just a symbol the architect puts on a church. The cross is not just a wild Roman holiday. It is not just a mode of execution.

The cross to Mary was the plunging of a sword into her heart. The cross to one thief was the doorway to Hell. The cross to the other thief was the pathway to Paradise. To Christ the cross was a coffin and a grave, but to millions of storm tossed souls the cross is an anchor keeping us in the haven of forgiveness and acceptance.

The driving desire of everyone of us is to be accepted and only when God accepts us can we accept ourselves. It is that simple. Only when I accept myself can I accept other people, warts and all because they have to put up with me and I’ve got warts so many you couldn’t put a pin in where there aren’t any.

Our driving desire is to be accepted. That is what justification is about, that God declares us righteous. It does not mean, makes us righteous. When you come out of the baptismal pool you are as bad as before you went in but you have a new motive, a new direction, and the Spirit will come if you open your heart to him. He will give you power but not power so you are infallible or never make a mistake, oh no.

The cross is the pattern of our daily existence where we cannot do what we want to do, cannot go where we want to go, cannot say what we want to say. Everyone experiences daily crucifixion because it is a tough world, but “Sunday’s a’comin.”

The Gospel promises us that you can feel forsaken and not be forsaken. Do you see it? Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He felt forsaken but he wasn’t. You can feel forsaken but you are not. There is no one closer than God when you feel you are all alone.

The cross is a microcosm of the world: the learned and the unlearned were there, the learned Pharisees and Scribes, the unlearned soldiers who could not count; the black and the white were there, the poor and the rich were there, the men and the women were there, the young and the old were there.

The cross was a miniature world. There were about a million people in Jerusalem at Passover time. Thousands were around the cross. You would find it hard to put a pin between the bodies. You and I were there. We forged the nails and we drove them into his hands and feet. We put our God to sleep on a tree, tucking in his hands and feet with nails but instead of a pillow we gave him a crown of thorns. We did it.

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Yes, we were there. It was my sins, the selfishness of my deeds that his hands were nailed. For the wrong places my feet have led me, his feet are spiked. His side is ripped open near his heart because I have loved so many foolish things. His brow is pierced with thorns because of the thoughts of lust, hate, envy, covetousness, and anxiety that I have cherished. And his back is red raw because I have carried many an idol.

The cross tells us that it is easy to sell God for 30 pieces of silver. Anything you love more than God is your idol and will shut you out of heaven, be it a lust, a person, or a thing, or your reputation.

The cross is either a futile accident showing that a good life is worth nothing or it is evidence that the love, mercy and wisdom of God is so wonderful that they can be nailed down and still win.

Now what is the cross to you? Is it a futile accident that says a good life is worth nothing, throw it away? Or does it demonstrate to you that the wisdom, the love, the mercy, the compassion of God is so great it can be nailed down and still win.

When we know that, then we can survive anything, even a life that is full of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32. Adapted from, “The News That Shook The World – Part 2.”

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