What thoughts does the cross conjure up in your mind?
The cross reminds us of the Savior’s suffering. We see shame, sin and separation from God. We see scars. Blood. And battered flesh. We see something grotesque. We see the cross as a cruel instrument of death.
However, for Christians, we see something else. Some things new. Important. The cross is multi dimensional and many faceted. Through God’s purpose, He created some new things out of the old rugged cross.
(1) The Cross Created a New Covenant.
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, the Bible says, “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt 26:27-28
The word covenant is also translated “testament.” We speak of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Testament literally means the disposition of property by a will. A covenant is an agreement, a contract, or compact.
The new covenant was sealed with the blood of Jesus. It’s a new agreement between man and God. The only reason the covenant exists is because of the cross. By the cross, Jesus created something new. Fresh. And alive. A new covenant.
(2) The Church was Purchased by the Blood of the Cross.
Our culture often misuses the word “church” to mean a building, or to identify an ecclesiastical organization. Or a denominational body. The church refers to people. It literally means “the called out.” The church is people called out of sin into a sanctified relationship with God.
How did that occur? The Bible says, Christ purchased the church “with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28). Peter said that “you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”
(3) Baptism Becomes Meaningful in the Cross.
Baptism is a powerful symbol created by the cross, and the events surrounding it– Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Paul affirmed this in Romans 6:3-4
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
In baptism we connect with the blood of the cross. We die with Christ. The old person is buried. Sins are washed away (Acts 22:16) The new person is resurrected alive “to walk in newness of life” and a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17)
(4) The Lord’s Day is Connected to the Cross.
Sunday is the first day of the week. It is a special day. It was the day Jesus was raised from the dead. On Sunday the gospel was first preached in Acts 2. On Sunday the first converted were baptized “for the remission of sins” On Sunday the church came into existence.
Through the cross a new day for worship was created. It is a day of importance. Priority. Purpose. And significance.
(5) The Cross Created a New Memorial.
Communion is intimately connected to the cross. Without the cross there is no Lord’s Supper. No special time of remembrance. No celebration of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.
It took Friday’s death and Sunday’s resurrection to make communion meaningful. Special. Unique. And a powerful memorial designed to remember Jesus until he returns to take the redeemed home to heaven!
In The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a’ Kempsis, the 15th century German, wrote: “In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.”
Thank God for the cross!
–Ken Weliever, The Peacherman