THE Passion of Cross
The preaching of the cross has fallen into
disfavor in many religious circles today. How tragically sad that
is. It can be very instructive
to all who desire to embrace true Christianity to ponder four
statements of the Apostle Paul about the cross:
1st Corinthians 1:18 "For the message of the
cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who
saved it is the power of God."
1st Corinthians 2:2 "For I determined not to
know any thing among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.".
Galatians 2:20 "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."
Galatians 6:14 "But God forbid that I should
boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world
has been crucified to me, and I to the world.."
These verses reveal clearly that the Apostle Paul
was possessed by "the passion of the cross." I think George Bernard knew something of the
passion of the cross when he wrote:
Certainly, Isaac Watts
left no doubt about his passion for the cross when he wrote:
"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 Iíll cherish the old rugged cross till my
trophies at last Iíll lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross, and
exchange it some day for a crown."
"When I survey the wondrous cross on which the
Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss, and pour
contempt on all my pride."
I. AT THE CROSS THE JUSTICE OF GOD IS SATISFIED.
Anyone who makes an honest and objective effort
to understand the Bible will come to the conclusion that God is a
holy God, consequently, a God of justice.
II. AT THE CROSS WE SEE THE LOVE OF GOD MAGNIFIED
Properly understood, the ten commandments are the
perfect expression of a perfect God. At the same time, they reveal
that man is sinful and cannot be saved by keeping the perfect law
because he is unable to do so. Instead, man is condemned by the law
because he has broken the law. It is in the priesthood and in the
sacrifices that we see pictures of what Christ did to redeem mankind
when He died for their sins on the cross.
On the Day of Atonement
the high priest had to
first offer a bull as a sacrifice for his sins (Leviticus 16:6).
After receiving cleansing from his sins he was able to offer a goat
to cleanse the sins of the people. Laying his hands on the head of
the sacrificial goat he symbolically transferred the sins of the
people to the goat. The goat was then sacrificed by slicing its
jugular vein. The blood was caught in a container and the carcass
was burned on the brass altar. The blood was then taken into the
holy of holies and sprinkled on the "mercy seat" which covered the
ark of the covenant which in turn contained the ten commandments.
This pictured how the justice of God would be satisfied by the sins
of the world being transferred to the innocent substitute, Jesus
Christ, and Him receiving the punishment for their sins.
What God Pictured by the Day of Atonement He
Confirmed in prophecy. In order to assure mankind that
they can escape His judgment and be received acceptably by Him God
confirmed the atonement He would provide by Christ's sacrifice on
the cross. This is the subject of Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12.
From this pinnacle of all prophecy we share verses 5 and 6. "But
wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we
are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every
one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us
Our New Testament Ratifies God's Chosen Means for
The Apostle Paul wrote, "For He made Him
who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the
righteousness of God in Him." 2nd Corinthians 5:21.
The Apostle Peter wrote, "Who Himself
bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to
sins, might live for righteousness---by whose stripes you were
healed." 1st Peter 2:24. "For Christ also suffered
for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,"
1st Peter 3:18.
When we think of standing before God and being judged for our
sins by the ten commandments it can cause us to be terrified, but
when we understand that Christ satisfied the justice of God on the
cross we can sing with William Cowper:
"There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn
from Emmanuelís veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all
their guilty stains:
The dying thief rejoiced to see That fountain in
And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my
To gaze upon Jesus on the cross is to gaze upon
One Who is covered with blood. His head is covered with blood from
the thorns. His face and chest is covered with blood from the
soldiers tearing His beard from His face. His back is covered with
blood from the whip called the "cat of nine tails" with which the
Roman soldiers beat Him. Blood flows from the spikes in His hands
and feet. And now, as the soldier drives the hook-bill spear into
His side, there is blood and water pouring forth.
III. AT THE CROSS THE SINNERS NEED OF SALVATION IS SATISFIED
The Apostle Paul comments on the message of all
this; "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though
perhaps for a good man someone would dare even to die. But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:7, 8. (NASB)
The Apostle John comments, "For God so loved
the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16. Charles Gabriel wrote,
"I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the
And wonder how He could love me, A sinner,
He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His
He bore the burden to Calvary, And suffered and
When with the ransomed in glory, His face I at
last shall see,
Tíwill be my joy through the ages To sing of His
love for me.
How marvelous! How wonderful, is my Saviorís
love for me!"
Deep within the heart of every "son of Adam" is
the realization that something very essential is missing to be at
peace with God. This realization is a fulfillment of the statement
Jesus made, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw
all peoples to Myself." John 12:32. One person
described this essential something as "a God-shaped piece missing in
every man's spiritual nature". Stuart Hamblen put it this way:
"You were born to find
God's love. Life has no other quest.
And till your soul
has found it's goal your heart can find no rest."
Jesus said that when He was lifted up He would draw all
peoples to Himself. On the day He was lifted up the thief
crucified beside Him was drawn and prayed, "Lord, remember me when
You come into Your
kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you, today you
will be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:42,43.
Nicodemus, chief ruler of the Jews and Joseph of
Arimatheae, a counselor of Godís law were drawn and they came and
provided for His burial. (Luke 23:42, 43).
The Roman Centurion in charge of the crucifixion
observed how Jesus bore His suffering and the words He spoke.
He beheld miraculous events of darkness in the middle of a sun lit
day; an earthquake when Jesus died and a lightning bolt strike the
Temple. He, and others with him , exclaimed, "Truly, this was the Son of God!"
The book of Acts is full of stories about those
who were drawn and came to Jesus. Through the ages men, women, boys
and girls, have come to Him out of every nation on earth. Those who
have truly trusted Him as their Savior have found that He gives a
salvation that satisfies.
IV. AT THE CROSS THE BELIEVER IS ALSO CRUCIFIED
Paul said, "I
have been crucified with ChristÖ"
Galatians 2:20 (See also chapter 6:14).
At the cross the believer dies to the old life of "no hope" and
receives a new life with "blessed hope".
At the cross the believer dies to the old life of fearing
Godís wrath and receives the new life of "no
Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
At the cross the believer dies to the old life of being powerless to stop sinning and receives
the new life of
motivated and empowered for righteousness. (Ephesians 2:1-2,
At the cross the believer dies to the old life of self where
he or she is the center of the universe and
everything and everybody
revolves around him or her. They receive a new life where God is the
center and we revolve around Him. (Colossians 3:9-11).
At the cross the believer dies to this worldís system which
passes away and receives a new life in Godís
eternal system that will
never pass away. (1st John 2:15-17)
At the cross we die to the old life of the "Now
Generation" and receive a new life that brings us into the
The cross of Christ symbolized all that is involved in
passing out of our lost, hopeless and condemned condition into our
eternal inheritance as a child of God. A beautiful chorus that only Christians can
"Let me lose my life and find it Lord in Thee,
May all self be slain, my friends see only Thee
Though it cost me grief and pain, Let me find my life again.
Let me lose my life and find it Lord in Thee
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All scripture quotations from NKJV unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.