Understanding the Cross of Christ (Part Two)

The cross of Christ is the centerpiece of Christianity and the essence of the gospel. We must understand its scope and majesty before we can grasp the concept of salvation. Therefore, we are contemplating the lessons we learn from the cross.
Third, the cross reveals God?s appeal. He provided a way to salvation by offering his Son on the cruel tree (John 3:16; Romans 5:6). Paul wrote, “for if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10, NKJV). John added, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The cross is indelibly linked to the gospel call. Paul warned the Galatians, “But even if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). To remove the suffering servant from the cross is to corrupt the message and to face an eternity of pain and suffering. Christ is the message and the way to God (John 14:6). Era, circumstances or any other motivation cannot remove this crucial point from God’s plan of salvation.
Fourth, the cross revealed Christ’s humanity. His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross was intense. Christ’s courageous act portrayed his unselfish and tender, humble spirit.
His pain is evident in Luke’s account. He wrote, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). His prayer was “Father, if it is your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus was God but he was also human (John 1:1-4,14). The savage beatings, hateful cries for his blood and the barbarity of the cross were as if we were enduring them. His humanity suffered intense pain while his divinity subordinated itself to God. Hebrews 2:9 reads, “But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” He endured the nightmare because he loved us and was perfectly committed to carrying forth his mission.
As humans we must learn from his example as we take up our cross for him. Jesus said, “He who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). Not that we must be crucified on a physical cross, but that we must be willing to sacrifice everything for his glory. That we must place his will above our own pride and feeble wisdom. Jesus tucked away his fears and stood facing them to the glory of his Father. Likewise, we must subordinate our stubbornness to do his will and to bring glory to our God.
As the hymn says, “Must Jesus bear the cross alone, And all the world go free? No, there?s a cross for everyone, And there?s a cross for me. The consecrated cross I?ll bear Till He shall set me free.” /1
1/ Thomas Shepherd, “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone.”

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