The Cross stands alone as the most controversial symbol in world history! Without question it has also been—and IS ABUSED, MISUSED AND WORSHIPED. To some it is a symbol of terror as used by the KKK and also by Christian crusaders against the Moslems in war. It has also been used in the Christian killing of Jews in the inquisition. It was carried by many slave traders and in the slaughter of Indians in the Americas. It was and is used even today in the religious wars in Europe between Protestants and Catholics. Some of the world’s greatest abuse has been done in front of the Cross.
YET the Cross today graces the top of church steeples, hangs in churches and is on the front of most Bibles. Let’s look further– The Cross is popular among believers and non-believers as an ornament–cross rings, cross earrings, cross necklaces, cross tattoos, cross bookmarks, cross grave markers, etc. It is worn by priests, prostitutes, soldiers, Christians and even terrorists. The sign of the cross is made by some before ball games or sports, by some before battle, by some at meals and by many in church. For many Christians the sign of the cross is at birth, baptism, communion, marriage, and death. Cross carrying has never been viewed in a true historical sense ‘a pleasure’
or in early years ‘a work of art’ or an ‘object of beauty.’ People died horrible bloody agonizing, tortured death on crosses. It was the symbol of the worst in man. Even most ancient Christian art is full of blood in its scene of the crucifixion. The art shows suffering and agony a very ugly picture. Yet the modern cross is cleaned up, gone is the blood, gone are the swarming flies that would be crawling about on the face of the crucified, gone is the smell of death and the ring of hammer against nail as it tears through the skin. NOW the cross is gold or silver and perhaps studded with diamonds or emeralds.
In the days of the cross people would see one and vomit, look away in disgust or ridicule it. TODAY we say:
‘Oh how lovely’ ‘How beautiful’ ‘It looks so nice’ ‘Where did you buy yours?’ ‘What did it cost?’
Painting of Christ on the Cross All things no first century follower of Jesus would ever utter. Do you see how shallow we’ve become? How lost? You don’t buy a Cross you carry a Cross Jesus said.
What did it cost? It cost the Father His Son—and the Son—His life. What does the Cross cost you? EVERYTHING
Jesus said ‘Should anyone come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.’ The true follower of Jesus has forsaken self, has taken up his cross (instrument of death) and is following Jesus. We can wear a cross and look good but in the heart have you crucified self, taken up your cross and are you following Jesus? Its the heart God sees and knows.
Many Protestants in smug superiority condemn the Catholics for having the image of Jesus on the cross. Oh we don’t like that ‘it’s a empty cross, Jesus arose and lives.’ BE careful— perhaps you made a grave error in cleaning up the cross. A BLOODY MUTILATED SAVIOR did hang on the cross. In some of these churches you get the view of Jesus really suffering and dying for us, we see the crown of thorns and a glimpse of His agony. We must be careful not to CREATE a Jesus like a successful business man that won ‘salesperson of the year’. Or a Jesus like a super sports hero who always wins! NO, The real Man Jesus carried a REAL Cross, shed REAL blood, suffered in a REAL body, and his REAL dead body was taken down and buried in a tomb. Jesus sweat Real drops of blood in the garden the night before He was crucified. He prayed to the Father “if it is possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done!” Within hours a scourged, bloody and tortured Jesus is carrying a Cross toward Calvary. No beautiful cross there, No-one saying ‘this cross would look good on you!’ Horror of horrors—-how could we, even worse how do we? At that Cross no cheering crowds, no wild adulation, no long ovation of applause ONLY jeers, mockery, curses, nails, blood and a cross as the Son of God bought our souls with his life!
For many modern people the importance of symbols is almost lost yet the message they can convey is awesome and biblical. Symbols are very important in the Bible. In the Garden of Eden God made for Adam and Eve, a covering of skin to cloth them from their nakedness after their sin. God did the first killing–a life was given! blood was shed! a covering was made! Abraham, years afterward was told by God to kill his son upon a wooden altar. Just as Abraham was lifting up the knife, God stopped him and said there is a ram caught in the bush, offer him instead. Again, a life was given, blood was shed, a covering was made! In Egypt as God was leading Moses to lead the Hebrews out of bondage God had the people kill a lamb, put the blood over the doorpost, a covering was made to keep the death angel away. Again a life was given, blood was shed, a covering was made! Still later, in the temple in Jerusalem the high priest, once a year would kill a spotless Lamb, its blood would be sprinkled on the altar, a covering for the sins of the people. Once again a life was given, blood was shed, a covering was made! At Calvary, God offered up His Son Jesus, His life was given, Jesus’ blood was shed, a covering was made for our sins. But not just a covering JESUS TAKES AWAY THE SIN, JESUS FORGIVES SIN, JESUS CLEANSES FROM SIN, JESUS WASHES AWAY SIN, HALLELUJAH!
God created the rainbow after the great flood as a sign to Noah and to all generations that He would not again destroy the world by water. In the wilderness after the Hebrews escaped from Egypt and they turned to worship idols, God sent serpents to bite the people. Then He had Moses set up a pole with the image of a fiery serpent on it and all who looked at it would be saved. Jesus used this story Himself “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Jesus made use of symbols: The Bread and the Wine used in Holy Communion or the Lords Supper. Jesus said “This is my Body— take and eat!” “This is my blood– drink this!” “Do this in remembrance of Me!” Jesus also asks us to wash one anothers feet; but He washed the disciples feet first! This shows how we are to be humble and serve each other.
Jesus also asks His followers to be baptized in water, an outward manifestation of an inward death, burial and resurrection!
So the cross! Jesus said “take up your cross and follow Me—- daily!”
Two Thousand years ago crucifixion was common in the Roman Empire. It was used early in history by the Phoenicians, then the Greeks and the Romans as a feared way of subduing conquered territories. On the day Jesus died on the Cross two other men were also crucified. Even after Christ, for years, thousands more were crucified.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT JESUS AND THE CROSS?
The answer WHO HE WAS! Divine, Son of God, Holy, Sinless ,Virgin born, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, Savior, the Messiah, but Jesus was also a real man in the flesh, born as a baby, He hungered, He thirst, He slept, He sweat, ate, drank, walked, talked, touched, felt, cried. What did the Father do?
He gave His only begotten Son.
He laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all.
He crushed Him, put Him to grief.
He made His soul an offering for sin.
He forsook Jesus on the Cross.
What did the Father do?
He ‘has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.
What did Jesus do?
His face (appearance) was marred more than any man.
He had no splendor or beauty that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by men.
He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
He has borne our sickness and carried our sorrows and pains.
He was wounded for our transgressions.
He was bruised for our inquities.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter but opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment.
He was cut off from the land of the living.
He was stricken.
He made His grave with the wicked.
He poured out His soul unto death.
He was numbered with the transgressors.
He bore the sin of many.
He made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus lived, He suffered for me, He did it all for me and I weep!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Jesus.
- Jesus was in Jerusalem with His twelve disciples and other followers as well as some women.
- It was the Jewish Passover time and Jesus had the Passover meal with the 12 and gave them the bread and wine in memory of Him, he washed their feet.
- Judas left Jesus there and went to betray Him.
- With the 11 disciples He goes in the night to the Garden of Gethsemane on the mountain just opposite Jerusalem.
- Jesus leaves the eight disciples and takes Peter James and John a little further away and ask all to pray.
- Jesus is in agony as He prays to the Father and sweats drops of blood as He asks the Father if possible to let this cup pass from Him. Nevertheless He says ‘Thy will be done’.
- Judas arrives with soldiers and betrays Jesus with a kiss.
- All the disciples flee.
- Jesus taken to the house of Annas the ex-high priest where He is questioned and hit in the face.
- Jesus is then taken to be tried and condemned by Caiaphas the high priest and the Sanhedrin. There He is spit in the face and slapped in the face. He is blindfolded and mocked as they now hit Him with their hands.
- After dawn Jesus is taken to a formal meeting of the Sanhedrin and condemned to be put to death.
- Jesus is taken to Pilate, the Roman Governor, at the Palace for questioning.
- Pilate questions Jesus.
- Then, to avoid making a decision, sends Him on to Herod Antipas the Tetrarch of Galilee who was visiting in Jerusalem. Jesus refuses to speak or do miracles so he has Jesus mocked by dressing Him in gorgeous apparel like a king and sends Jesus back to Pilate.
- Jesus is now the second time before Pilate where the religious leaders are demanding that Pilate condemn Jesus to death. Pilate tries again to avoid the decision by giving the people a choice between Jesus being realized and a murderer and robber named Barabbas. Stirred by the chief priests the crowd shouted release Barabbas but crucify Christ. Pilate then took Jesus and had Him scourged (A horrible torture of whipping with a long whip the back of a person, the whip with sharp pieces in it tears the flesh often to the bone. Some even die from this as the pain and loss of blood it tremendous.) The soldiers plait a crown of thorns and put it upon His head, dress Jesus in a purple robe and mock Him. They beat Him with their hands! Now Pilate brings the scourged, beaten Jesus out to the leaders wearing the robe and crown of thorns and yet this is not enough. “Crucify Him” they cry. Pilate wishing to content the people released Barabbas and delivered Jesus to be crucified.
- The Roman soldiers take Jesus to the Praetorium where they continue the mockery by putting a reed in His right hand, spiting upon Him and then shaking the reed and beating Jesus upon the head. Here is the scene: The blood vessels in Jesus’ face are burst and now black after the agony in Gethsemane. Jesus was Hit in the face at the house of Annas. Slapped in the face and spit upon during questioning at Caiaphas’s. Scourged, beaten with their hands and a crown of thorns pressed upon His head by Pilate’s soldiers now Jesus is again beaten but by the reed (rod) upon the head. They look at Him with the purple robe, crown of thorns, a reed in His hand, His face mutilated, bloody, black and dripping with spit and they bow before Him saying “Hail King of the Jews”.
- They strip Jesus again as they take off the purple robe and put back on Him His own clothes.
- “They took Jesus and He went out bearing the cross for Himself.” (The cross was made of wood, but we do not know what kind of wood it was. The wood would have to be thick enough to hold a man’s weight of perhaps 180 pounds and long enough to crucify a 6 foot or more man. With a man’s hands outstretched the cross beam would be about 6 foot, the long beam must be at least 6 foot, the part of the cross out in the ground would need to be about two or three feet. There would need to be a space between the ground and the feet of the crucified of several more feet perhaps three. The best I can figure it the cross was about 6 feet across and 12 foot long (2 meters by 4 meters). To hold the body weight the thickness would be about 4 inches by 4 inches. That is the size of the cross I have carried around the world since 1969. Since wood was scarce there and had to be transported in by foot or animal, the cross was probably not new and beautiful but old distorted wood fit only for criminals to die on. The Bible calls it a cross Jesus was carrying. Some people suggest it was only one beam of the cross but there is no evidence of that being the case. It was a real cross and looked like a cross. The distance the cross was carried was at the most half a mile but probably less than that, depending upon which of two places one believes Calvary to be located. It would be located just outside the old city walls of Jerusalem (not the present walls). The temple is atop the mountain Jerusalem is built upon, the Roman palace of Pilate and the Praetorium are near the temple but lower than it. The place of the crucifixion is outside the city walls and lower than the Praetorium in altitude. It was a gradual down hill. Three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke only mention Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross of Jesus. The Gospel of John only mentions Jesus carrying the cross! When you put the four accounts together you get the following picture.)
- Jesus leaves the Praetorium carrying the cross! He is followed by a huge crowd of people including a group of weeping, grieving, wailing women. Jesus, even in His agony, turns and speaks to them, a warning of the suffering soon to come to Jerusalem.
- After Jesus carries the Cross some distance, we don’t know how far, the soldiers grab a man named Simon of Cyrene and force him to carry the cross FOLLOWING JESUS. Jesus is in front with Simon just behind Him. Cyrene is in North Africa and was a Roman province in what is now present day Libya. The book of Mark tells us that Simon was the father of two sons, Alexander and Rufus, implying that they were known to the early church. Three times it is said the Simon was coming in from the country and Mark says he was just passing by. Simon in all probability was not a follower of Jesus at this point but a surprised stranger.
- The Gospel accounts of the cross walk say nothing of Jesus stumbling or falling although church tradition adds this and more however it may be safe to assume that because of the extreme torture of Jesus and His condition the soldiers feared Him collapsing and dying before being crucified as ordered by Pilate.
- They reach ‘the place of the skull’ ‘Golgotha’ is the Aramaic word for skull and Calvary is the Latin word.
- There Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh or gall to drink but He refuses (choosing to suffer all the pain).
- Jesus is crucified!(Jesus is nailed to the cross. The cross is probably laid down on the ground, Jesus probably Himself upon, stretched out His Hands and crossed His feet ready to receive the nails. After the resurrection Jesus showed the disciples His hands and feet as evidence that He was the same one crucified. That is enough for me! Some suggest that the nails were in His wrist but there is no evidence to that theory. The Bible clearly says “They pierced My hands and My feet” It was very possible that a rope might have been tied about the wrist to hold some weight but we are not sure of that. After being nailed to the cross the cross would have been lifted up with the bottom end at the hole that would have been dug. The soldiers would have raised it until it was nearly upright then the cross would fall into the hole with a great THUD. This now had Jesus up, hanging on the wood of a tree for all to see.)
- Before they crucified Jesus, the soldiers stripped Him of His garments. They made four parts and then as Jesus hung on the cross they gambled for His tunic that was without seam woven from the top in one piece. Artists throughout history have covered the exposed body of Jesus. Too much to think of this Savior, bloody, flesh torn from the back, face mutilated and swollen and naked!! Oh, I don’t want to go on with this but I must.
- A plaque or inscription was put on the cross above the head of Jesus reading “Jesus of Nazareth The King of the Jews” it was written in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
- In the crowd about the cross; some just looked—-others laughed and wagged their heads, the chief priests, scribes and elders were there, still after Jesus. They mocked Him, scoffed at Him saying ‘He saved others let Him save Himself’ , ‘If you are the King of Israel come down from the cross that we may believe.’
The words of Jesus from the Cross.
- “Father forgive them: for they know not what they do.” These words Jesus said soon after being crucified. They are so profound they need no further comment. The people who crucified Jesus are forgiven of this, No doubt about it, the Father would do what Jesus ask.
- Two criminals were also crucified with Jesus. One on the right side and the other on the left. At first both criticized Jesus but then one began to say that they were getting what they deserved but that Jesus had done nothing wrong and then he spoke “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Jesus then said to the one thief, “Today I say to you, you will be with me in Paradise.”
- Standing by the cross of Jesus was His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved he said to His mother “Woman behold your son.”
- Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother.”
- These first four sayings of Jesus were during the hours of about nine a.m. to twelve noon. Then from twelve noon to three p.m. there was darkness over all the land. About 3 p.m. at the close of the darkness period.
- Jesus cries out with a loud voice “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” translated from Aramaic “My God, My God Why have you forsaken Me?”
- Then Jesus knowing that all things were finished and accomplished according to the scriptures said “I thirst.”
- Someone ran and got a sponge, filled it with vinegar upon hyssop and gave Him a drink.
- Jesus cries out with a loud voice “It is finished!”
- “Father into Your hands I commend My spirit.”
- Jesus bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
- The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to bottom! The earth quaked. The rocks were split. The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had died were raised and coming out of the graves after the resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
- The centurion and those with him said “Truly this man was the Son of God!” and the centurion glorified God.
- Standing far away watching everything was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the mother of Zebedee’s sons and many women that had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him and many other women from Jerusalem .
- Pilate orders that the legs of the crucified be broken so that they die quickly, so they are not left on the crosses on the Jewish sabbath. The soldiers did this to the other two but when they came to Jesus they saw He was already dead so they did not break His legs. However one of the soldiers with a spear pierced Jesus in the side and there came out blood and water!
- Joseph a rich man from Arimathaea, a good and righteous man who had not agreed to the counsel to condemn Jesus, went to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews. Pilate released the body to Joseph. Nicodemus, who had come to talk to Jesus before, came and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap the body in. He assisted Joseph as they wrapped Jesus’ body in linen cloths and laid him in a new tomb cut out of stone. This was Joseph’s own tomb, in it he laid the body of Jesus and rolled a big stone in the door of the tomb and departed.
- The women watch the burial and see the tomb.
- Pilate at the request of the religious leaders then sends guards to seal the stone and guard the tomb.
The Glory of the Cross
The story of the cross does not end in death, or at the grave; as a matter of fact it never ends!!!! Jesus said “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” On the third day after the cross—-JESUS AROSE! Hallelujah, Jesus Lives! The Father raised Him from the dead. There IS hope. Jesus has the power over death, hell and the grave. The resurrected Jesus was seen on earth for forty days. He often appeared to His eleven disciples, also to Mary Magdalene and the other women followers and to hundreds of other believers. On the third day after the cross a great earthquake took place and an angel came from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. This was not to let Jesus out but to let the world see in!! “He is not here He is risen” the angels proclaimed on that resurrection morning. The fearful disciples changed into bold, fearless witnesses of the resurrected living Jesus taking His message to the world. At the conclusion of Jesus’ time on earth He led His followers to the top of Mt. Olivet just out of Jerusalem. He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Jesus was then taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight into heaven where He sat down at the right hand of God!
While they were looking up, two angels said to them “this SAME Jesus which was taken up shall return in the same way you saw Him go into heaven.” They then returned to Jerusalem with great joy and went from there everywhere preaching and witnessing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus had told them He would come again but until then His followers were to go into all the world and be His witnesses and make disciples. Jesus said there would be many false christs and false prophets. There will be wars, earthquakes, famines and terrors. People will be gripped with fear and the heavens shall be shaken. THEN: They shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory! He shall send forth His angels with a great sound of the trumpet. They will gather together His elect from all the world and from Heaven. He will sit on the throne of His glory. All nations will be gathered before Him. He will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats. He will set the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left. Then He will say to those on His right “come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. The angels will separate the wicked from among the just and cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. JESUS WARNED : “Be ready, for you do not know the day or the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. For it is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” “I am coming quickly”.
The Preaching of the Cross
Throughout the remainder of the New Testament books the cross is a central theme. Christ lived, He died for our sins, He rose again, ascended into heaven, He is coming again, and will be the final judge and His followers will be with God in heaven! Just after the ascension of Jesus the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and Peter, a disciple, preached to a huge crowd in Jerusalem “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
“God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.” “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
“God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, but whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.”
“For we believe that Jesus died and rose again.” “There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” “Looking unto Jesus, the originator and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“You were not redeemed with perishable things,– but with the precious blood of Christ,– who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree,– by whose stripes (wounds) you were healed.” “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “Jesus Christ who loves us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” From heaven we read in the book of Revelation “For you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every tribe and language and people and nation.”
The Glorious Eternity for the Believer
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth had passed away. There was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy Jerusalem coming down from out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from heaven saying ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said ‘Behold, I make all things new.'” “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. The throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it and they shall see His face.”
Now, What Will You do With Jesus?
Believe in Him! Follow Him! Repent of your sins! Love Him! Know Him! Jesus said ” If anyone desires to come after Me let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” The scripture says clearly “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Let me suggest that you now call upon the name of the Lord now! He will hear you. A prayer you can pray now.
Dear God, I need you. As best as I know how I give you my life. Lord Jesus I believe you died on the cross for my sins, arose, ascended to the Father and will come again. I repent of my sins. Come into my life and give me new life. I want to follow you and live in Your way. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and your love. I forgive everyone, help me to love everyone. Please write my name in your book and make my home in heaven. I am not ashamed of Jesus. Thank you. In Jesus name I pray.
It’s very important now for you to get a Bible and read it carefully. Find a group of fellow believers (a church) and be baptized. Seek to grow in how to clearly follow Jesus and know God in fullness. Confess Jesus openly and share with others the new life you now have. [If you prayed this prayer, please let us know by clicking here. We want to rejoice with you.]
Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”. “This is the first and great commandment.” And the second is like it: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Oh, give thanks and praise to God for what Jesus did for us at the cross! In 1969 Jesus spoke to me at 5 a.m. in the morning and told me to take the cross and carry it across America. Then He called me on to the world, and later to give my life to carry the cross to every nation before the year two thousand! I’ve now openly carried the twelve foot cross and shared Jesus on all seven continents.
For Jesus I’ve been through wars, jail, jungles, deserts, and walked roads in almost every nation. The Guinness Book of Records lists this as the world’s longest walk, that means I have spent thousands of hours and years of holding the cross, thinking of Jesus on the cross and His suffering. I feel His great love and presence. I’ve cried countless tears and seek to give Jesus my best in carrying the cross in such a way He is proud and honored. Its only for Jesus. Not for sport, exercise, or fame only in obedience to Jesus’ call. I am not ashamed of Jesus or the cross.
I have seen all types of reaction to the cross but I shall not focus on my cross walk;—- -Just on Jesus and the ‘real’ cross.
I close with one personal story: I was carrying the cross in New Zealand from Auckland to Wellington. Along the highway one morning as I walked beside the sea an awesome event happened. The road was narrow with almost no roadside to walk on. As the highway went up from the seaside I looked down and saw a lady running by the sea. Continuing up the mountain and watching out for traffic I was later surprised to see the lady running toward me! She shared this story. She had been living there by the sea for two and a half years in a house.
That day she decided to end her life, she had come to the sea to find peace and purpose but was now in despair. She was going to run into the water and drown. It was to be her last run before dying. She stopped and cried out “God if there be a God, I NEED LIFE !” She looked up and there was the cross!!! as I carried it up the mountain. As she approached me weeping she said “The cross, the cross, I saw the cross, I’ve come to the cross!” We talked for a long while beside the road, then prayed together, cried together, then rejoiced and laughed. I invited her to walk on with me to where my wife Denise would be waiting in a camper ahead. She smiling said “no, I’m ok now, I know what to do now, you go on and help someone else” My deep desire is just to BE THERE holding up the cross, lifting up Jesus, loving Him and following Him and loving each person I meet. I humbly pray this message about the cross is THERE FOR YOU. God bless you, I trust we meet personally one day. Peace be with you.
The Old Rugged Cross (song)
On a hill far away
stood an old rugged cross
the emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross
where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
and exchange it someday for a crown
Oh that old rugged cross
so despised by the world
has a wondrous attraction for me
for the dear lamb of God
left His glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary
To the old rugged cross
I will ever be true
its shame and reproach gladly bear
then He’ll call me someday
to my home far away
where His glory forever I’ll share
Words and music by George Bennard
“FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.” From the book of John
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt,