I love to hear about the Cross! I relish the preaching of the Cross. I have read numerous books on the implications of the Cross. Every observance of the ordinance of communion and Good Friday service renew my affection for the Cross and devotion to the Cross.
You see, it was the Cross that made a difference in my life. I was reared in a non‑Christian home, and though my father did not give much credence to the Lord and the Cross, he had learned about that truth as a child. How do I know? Well, it wasn’t because he told me, but he sang it to me. Often on Saturday evenings as a young child I remember my father having friends over to our little home where they would play their guitars into the early hours of the morning. Always in his repertoire, was the playing of the hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” which I recall his singing from memory with great expression and seeming significance. He had heard it as a child in a little country church snuggled deep in the hills of West Virginia. Thus I had heard about this Cross long before I started attending church where I was later saved as a teenager.
After becoming a believer I recall purchasing in a Christian Bookstore one of those little fluorescent crosses that sits on a stand and illuminates in the dark. Each night when I went to bed, I held that Cross close to the lamp and then turning off the light I fell asleep thinking about the Cross and all of its implications upon my life. Through the years I have always “claimed the Cross” and have been so thankful for the spiritual impact it has made upon my life, even in those early days sitting at the feet of my father listening to him sing the “Old Rugged Cross.”
James M. Boice once said, “The cross means this: Jesus taking our place to satisfy the demands of God’s justice and turning aside God’s wrath.” Martin Luther stated, “No man understands the Scriptures, unless he be acquainted with the cross. The cross alone is our theology!” M. Lloyd‑Jones claimed that “The preaching of the Cross of Christ was the very center and heart of the message of the apostles, and there is nothing I know of that is more important than that every one of us should realize that this is still the heart and the center of the Christian message.”
Better than the sayings of men are the sayings of Scripture:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)” ‑
“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.”
I Peter 2:24
“….Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame……” Hebrews 12:2
In our day and age, as in days past, the Cross is very offensive to a world governed by the greatest antagonist of the Cross ever, the devil! But in the midst of this dishonor, disrespect and defiance, the Cross still stands tall on many church chapels, highway reminders where loved ones have died, cemetery gravesites, car decals, necklaces, ear rings and even body tattoos. Whenever we see someone wearing a visible Cross, it is an open door to ask “What does that Cross mean to you?”
Today, tomorrow, until Jesus calls us home or comes again, may we unashamedly claim the Cross! May it be true of us what Spurgeon once said, “Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed; see the thorn‑crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills….and if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before the Cross, you have never seen it!” Someone has well stated that the Cross is God’s centerpiece on the table of time. Visit the table often. Bring others to the table constantly. May we not only claim the Cross but live daily in the light of the Cross.
“I claim the Cross, upon which Christ died,
The blessed Cross from whence He cried,
Where all my sins through grace were paid,
Where all my plans He gloriously remade.
I claim the Cross which changed my life,
The blessed Cross which ceased my strife,
Where all my burdens were carried away,
Where all my darkness turned to day.
I claim the Cross as I older grow,
The blessed Cross ‑ I’ve longed to know,
Where I’ve sought His risen power,
Where I will trust ’til that last hour.