More than a Symbol

There’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of listening and learning the Bible, and that there are more layers to discover the deeper you go.  It seems that the words of Augustine are more understandable too, when he said, “The Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.”

The same could be said for much of that which  God used as an instrument to sacrifice His only begotten Son.

When one looks at a cross, it depends on the eye of the beholder. It could be nothing more than a symbol of some religion, with “a little man on it”, or it could be an offensive message of something totally foreign to many intellectuals.  For most Christians it’s the means of Jesus’s work of reconciling those who trust on Him to our Father in heaven, to our Creator. But it’s so much more, and the more one thinks about it, the more layers to the cross are discovered.

The cross is a symbol of the love of God and  I guess that’s why it’s foolishness to the world.  Our God is an active God, He created the universe and our world with His spoken Word.  He is active in pursuing His creation, and loves all the world so much, He sent His perfect Son as a sacrifice for us.  Jesus took the cross of wrath, so we wouldn’t have to.
God the Son came to us as a man, out of love and obedience to God the Father, and His work and obedience is witnessed and testified by God the Holy Spirit.

The wrath of God, shows His Holiness, but it also demonstrates His love, in that He’d rather have taken that wrath upon Himself, so we don’t have to.  The work on the Cross and the symbol, is pure Love but it was also a plan from the very beginning.  It blows one’s mind to think of how God had it all in place and planned.

As said, the cross is foolishness to the world.  Either people see it as a fairy tale story, in spite of the overwhelming archaeological and historical facts surrounding Jesus’s crucifixion.  Many see it as a sign of weakness, or finality like Judas did, because they don’t have the Spirit’s guidance on what the fullness of Jesus’s work accomplished.  Others see it as offensive because they don’t believe God would punish His only Son in such a humiliating and degrading way and prefer to believe He either found a ‘replacement’, or that He didn’t die, but ‘swooned’, only to go live a quiet life somewhere out of the picture.  But they don’t understand that it’s out of pure love for humanity that He did what He did, and what He accomplished through it.

It Is Finished

3 little words which changed the world, and brought peace and reconciliation to billions of believers, and still has that same power to change lives over 2000 years later.  The cross, as mentioned was a demonstration of the active nature of God.   When Jesus offered Himself as the perfect, spotless sacrifice, He demonstrated obedience to God the Father, glorifying Him, but also making peace between humanity and their Creator.

I love the lyrics from It is Well With my Soul…

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

Jesus has already done it- as His words testified.  And yet, His past act comes with present provision, which people now can receive His Grace and forgiveness when they call out to Him.  It’s also a present provision to believers in that we begin our eternal lives the moment we become born again in the Spirit.  We begin a new life– an abundant life– and a purposeful life.

The work of Jesus on the cross also provides a future provision, as Paul writes to the Ephesians the reminder of this promise,

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ

It is done. Complete. Finished.  We can’t add to His work, and nothing we do on our own can replace what He has freely done.  The Cross is a symbol of completed work, but it is also a symbol of regeneration.

Once someone believes on Jesus, His sacrifice for their sin, and they are born again in the Holy Spirit of God, they are reconciled with God their Father.  But as said, a new life begins, that’s not to say once you become a Christian, a follower of Jesus, you’re not going to stumble or sin ever again.  But one does begin to change from the inside out.  There is no doubt, from any true believer that things they did before coming to Christ, eventually become less important, some things become uncomfortable ( I know I cringe a lot now when a cuss word slips out).  We will be perfected and works in progress until the day we go home, and the cross is a reminder of our old natures being nailed there along with Jesus.  But it’s also a reminder of the present and future provision that our sins are forgiven by Christ as soon as we ask Him for forgiveness, and the regeneration continues it’s work by helping us to turn away from those sins.

As I was reading an article, to gain more understanding on the completeness of the Cross, something was brought up that I had never considered before. The cross was never meant for Jesus.  It was planned for Barabbas!  It was you, me and everyone else that the middle cross was meant for.  And yet the perfect, infinite Love of God took our place.

Oh I can’t help but sigh and tear up thinking about how much this rough hewn, nail scarred piece of wood means.

The cross is a symbol of defeat for Satan, no wonder the world hates it so much and is being torn off of buildings and replaced with the tools of the world.  But as much as we learned in the 1st Chapter of Mark last week, that the Word of Truth will never be left voiceless (Jesus began His ministry immediately after John was imprisoned), neither will the work done on that cross ever be ignored or forgotten by those who’ve laid their sins, old lives and burdens at the foot of it.

The cross demonstrates the Triune nature of God.  God the Father predestined redemption of the world and sent the Son to save the world. Jesus the Son submitted to the Father’s will, and the Spirit applies the work of redemption to the followers of Jesus.

Finally (even though there are more layers, but due to space and time, this is the final part for this article) the cross is a symbol of the Power of the Kingdom in which all of those who are born again into the Family of God will be partakers of.  When we work through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, we are like the Lord, active in our Kingdom future.  Just as Jesus finished His work, conquering death and sin, victory over the enemy,  He also displayed power through seeming weakness- and did not usurp His authority or will, but by submitting to God’s will, He retained His position at  right hand of the Father in His Kingdom.  That shows what kind of perfect, just and righteous ruler He will be.

And considering the human governments we have in our world now, I am looking forward to Jesus’s rule more and more.

The Cross is an amazing thing, but the work completed is awesome!

Have a blessed and safe week all!

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