One year ago today the 911 Memorial and Museum was dedicated. But it opened amid various controversies. One objection was raised by an atheist group over the inclusion of a cross.
The 17-foot steel-beam cross was discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers two days after the 2001 terrorist attacks on America. In days and weeks to come it provided a tangible symbol of comfort and faith to many of those horrified by the events of September 11.
Some people made pilgrimages to the WTC site to pray before the cross and left behind written messages such as “God Bless Our Fallen Brothers.” A few weeks later the cross was hoisted atop a 40-foot-high mound of debris on what was formerly a pedestrian walkway so that it could be viewed by a wider audience
A religious service was held, during which a preacher, Brian Jordan, declared: “Behold the glory of the cross at ground zero. This is our symbol of hope, our symbol of faith, our symbol of healing.” Countless other ceremonies and prayer vigils were held at the WTC cross in the weeks and months that followed.
The atheist’s appeal for the removal of the cross was denied. One year later, it remains in the museum for everyone personal thought and reflection. This brouhaha for the inclusion of the cross reminds us of 3 great Truths.
(1) The Cross Declares a great Paradox.
It is a paradoxical that on one hand for unbelievers to deny the existence of God, reject the Deity of Jesus and refuse to accept the Bible, yet are bothered by a cross, that they deem meaningless?
Of course, the cross is one of the great paradoxes in human history. What a paradox that the Creator was crucified by the very creatures He had created. Think about these great paradoxes of the cross.
• He who was the Light hung in darkness on that cross (Lk 23:44).
• He who was the image of the Glorious God, appeared appalling to those who claimed to follow God (Isa 52:14).
• The One called “the Author of life,” endued a physical death (Ac 3:15).
• The “water of Life” who formed the oceans, rivers and lakes cried out, “I thirst.” (Jn. 19:28).
• The omnipotent One appears powerless (Lk 23:35)
• The disgrace and defeat of the cross was transmuted into triumph and glory (Lk 24:1-12).
(2) The Cross Demonstrates Christ’s Power.
That which atheists and infidels claim is impotent and powerless, ironically possesses a magnetic appeal! There is a drawing power in the cross. It undeniable. And obvious.
The Bible says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The power of the cross is demonstrated in its potential to reconcile all things to Christ who “made peace through the blood of His cross.”
The cross has the power to redeem us from sin. Restore our fellowship with God. Regenerate our souls. And reform our lives.
(3) The Cross Reveals God’s Purpose.
Contrary to some doctrines, the cross was not failure. It was not a shock to God. It didn’t disrupt His plan. In fact, the Bible teaches that the cross was central to God’s eternal intent. He purposed, planned and predestined the human race would be saved by the cross (Eph 2:16).
The cross broke down barriers. Destroyed opposing philosophies. And removed social and cultural distinctions. All people are made one in Christ through the cross.
No wonder Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “I take my text and make a bee-line to the Cross.”
Thank God for Christ and salvation through His cross!
Ken Weliever, The Preacherman