Friday, March 30, 2012

The Cross of Jesus Christ

We are entering into the most important week of the year on the Christian calendar, called Holy Week, encompassing the last week of Jesus' life before the cross. In light of that, I wanted to share some thoughts on the Cross of Jesus.

Ravi Zacharias, in his book "Why Jesus," quoted Richard Niebuhr as saying that the New Spirituality has preached "a Christ without a cross." This modern trend does not give us a new form of Christianity, but something else entirely, something powerless. As Max Lucado writes, "The  part that matters is the cross. No more and no less."

The following are selections on the theme of the cross that I've collected from my reading over the years. I'll shortly follow this up with another post on the theme of the resurrection. I hope that 
you take the time to consider the implications of the cross.

"The cross is that centre of the world's history where all men and all nations stand revealed as both enemies of God and yet loved by God." - Dag Hammarskjold

"We must not dilute the gospel by ignoring the Cross - or from the seeds of our evangelism will sprout followers attracted to Christianity for what it will give them, rather than out of love and service for a risen Lord. We follow Christ not because of His blessings, but because He is truth." - Charles Colson, "The God of Stones and Spiders:" (Wheaton, IL, Crossway, 1990), 130.

"Mahatma Gandhi made the comment that of all the truths of the Christian faith, the one that stood supreme to him was the cross of Jesus. He granted that it was without parallel. It was the innocent dying for the guilty, the pure exchanged for the impure. This evil cannot be understood through the eyes of the ones who crucified Him, but only through the eyes of the Crucified One. It is the woman who is raped who understands what rape is, not the rapist. It is the one who has been slandered who understands what slander is, not the slanderer. It is only the One who died for our sin who can explain to us what evil is, not the skeptics. The cross points the way to a full explanation."  - Ravi Zacharias, "Jesus Among Other Gods:" (Nashville, TN., Word Pub., 2000), 136.

"Jesus died for me are four words I have lived by, and they are the words I am going to die by." - Charles Spurgeon

"On the eve of the cross, Jesus made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you." - Max Lucado, "The Gift For All People:" (Sisters, OR., Multnomah), 66.

"At the intersection of time and eternity - nailed there - You confront us; a perpetual reminder that living, we die, and dying, we live. An incarnation wonderful to contemplate; the light of the world, indeed." - Malcolm Muggeridge, "Confessions of a 20th Century Pilgrim," p. 134.

"The death of Jesus Christ had to be certified by four official Roman executioners before His body could be taken down from the cross. John's eyewitness account tells us that a guard rammed a spear through Christ's rib cage, and blood and water flowed out." - R. Scott Richards, "Myths The World Taught Me:" (Nashville, TN., Nelson, 1991), 214.

"Into Jesus' soul flooded the hate of every lie, the evil of every impure thought, the venom of every cruel word, the tragedy of every good deed left undone. And the Father, in His holiness, burned against His Son. Jesus plunged into the fiery ocean of God's undiluted wrath against sin. Truly, He could go no lower." - Bill Hybels, "Descending Into Greatness:" (Grand Rapids, MI., Zondervan, 1993), 61.

"It wasn't the Romans who nailed Jesus to the cross. It wasn't the Jewish religion that took him up the hill of Calvary. It wasn't spikes that held Jesus to the cross. What held him to that cross was his conviction that it was necessary that he become sin and that the wrath of God be poured down, not upon the creation, but upon the Creator." - Max Lucado

"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” - Jesus Christ (John 10:17-18)

"This is why the cross is the symbol of Christianity. It marks the dividing line between man's futile efforts to achieve God's righteousness and God's gracious act in sending Christ to redeem all who will follow. It represents the most decisive moment in history, when God answered the great human dilemma that we have all sinned and yearn for forgiveness: God took upon Himself our sins to set us free. It is where justice and mercy meet." - Charles Colson, "The Faith:" (Grand Rapids, MI., Zondervan), 90.

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." - Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23)

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