The Word of the Cross
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18
I suppose that if I had to restrict myself to only giving one message for the rest of my life, I would have to make it a message on the Cross. The message of the Cross is certainly that which makes everything about our Christian walk come together. If we leave out the Cross (which I am afraid we do so often), then our Christianity is immediately reduced to good ideas and nothing more. But the Scriptures tell us of a life in Christ in which we can live victoriously and joyfully. They speak of peace that surpasses all understanding, a life filled with purpose and destiny. Our walk is to be a life in which we have a living relationship with God. We can hear Him, we can follow Him day by day, and we can be guided by Him. It is a life that is free from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and all the ugliness that comes with all that. Without the Cross, none of this is possible. None of it. Maybe this is why so many Christians do not experience all that God has for them. The power of the Cross has been left out!
Often I get the feeling that some Christians are ashamed of the core message of our Christian faith–the Cross. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 1 that the word of the cross is foolishness (some translations say scandalous) to many…… to those who have not had their eyes opened. We should expect that talk about the cross, sin, forgiveness of sins, the powerful blood of Christ will make people uncomfortable. But that is not a reason to shrink back from speaking. This is also the message that will powerfully break through to the hearts of men and women. The world around us is not looking for more good ideas about God. People are looking for something that has power. That is the message of the Cross. We must not be ashamed of the Cross!
We are also told in I Corinthians 1:21-24 that the word of the cross is not just the power of God, but it is also the wisdom of God. We are talking about, of course, a wisdom much higher and deeper than the greatest wisdom of this world. Too often, we are seeking the wisdom of this world as if it were the only or best thing out there. A life centered on the message of the Cross will lead us to that higher wisdom. Let us not be ashamed of the Cross!
The message of the cross also has powerful implications for our daily walk. When I begin to understand the meaning of being totally forgiven of all my sin……when I begin to realize that the blood of Jesus gives me access to the very throne of God (His presence)…… when I see that His death and resurrection impart to me a power to live out the Christian life, my life is transformed completely. I begin to experience the meaning of truly abiding in Him. I am filled with joy unspeakable (I Peter 1:8). Let us not be ashamed of the Cross!
I was only nineteen years old when God began to open my eyes to the message of the cross. I read Watchman Nee’s Normal Christian Life and soon began to read other books on the subjects of justification, the blood of Jesus, redemption, and sanctification. I began studying and even memorizing sections of the Scripture describing what Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection. Throughout the years, I have found myself continually going back over and over to the themes associated with the Cross…….and being refreshed and transformed by them. Now, almost 40 years later, I am still fascinated by the message of the cross. More than anything else, it has shaped who I am today.
This coming Sunday is Easter, or what I like to call “Resurrection Sunday”. It is the day in which we are to remember how Jesus Christ died at the Cross and then was resurrected on our behalf. Even though I love the idea of calling attention to what He has done for us, and taking a day to celebrate it, I also have sometimes struggled with the idea of Easter. Why celebrate this great event only once a year? It seems like that by taking a “day” to do this, or even a “week”, that we are diminishing its importance or its greatness. Our lives must be devoted to, and committed to, studying and reflecting on the word of the Cross…… every day of the year.