The power of the Cross
“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.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
About a week ago in my Good Friday message, I wrote about the ‘Old Rugged Cross,’ (you can read it here https://irevjulius.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/the-old-rugged-cross-our-reconciliation/) the cross of Christ in which I wrote that: “On the old rugged cross, hanged Christ, the Son of God as testified by one of the centurion on duty that day. On the old rugged cross is where your sin has been laid upon Christ, that you may be free. What a love, that made him bear the Cross for my sake? On the old rugged cross is where there is victory over sin, death and the devil. No, darkness did not overcome light. On the old rugged cross, I see Grace, God’s abundant Grace, the grace that gives life, the grace that relieves me from earning my salvation, I wouldn’t have worked enough to earn it. On the old, rugged cross, was a way opened for me to a fellowship with God, yes “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).
This is how sweet the message of that Cross of Christ is to us yet to those who are doomed to perish, the word of God says that this sweet “message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18. As I meditated on this the Cross of Calvary, I was reminded of God’s amazing grace to us through the cross which appears foolishness to those who are perishing and I thought it worth to have a word on the cross once again. I can never speak less of this message of the cross because of its central position in the gospel, without the cross, there would be no gospel, no good news unless if God chose to do it differently because on the cross is where God accomplished his redemption mission.
Comparably, the message of the cross is like Naaman being healed of leprosy in the waters of Jordan river. In the land of Aram was an army officer who suffered of leprosy, an incurable disease by then. After being advised by a servant girl to seek healing from a prophet who lived in Israel, his master granting him the permission, Naaman set off to the meet Elisha that he may be free from leprosy. Thinking differently of what the prophet would do to have him healed, disgustingly, he was being told to go and dip himself in the Jordan river seven times. “But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:11-12).
Wash myself seven times in a river even when many lepers who are present in Israel couldn’t be healed by this river? Were there no waters in Aram where I could have washed myself? Why should this man of God just tell me to do an ordinary hard task of washing myself seven times in the river? Naaman thought to himself, he was unhappy and ready to quite had it not been for his servants. To Naaman, it was foolishness to have him washed seven times in a river to have a healing yet it was God’s way of healing him; so is the message of the Cross to many being God’s way of salvation. Just as the ordinary Jordan looked unable to heal leprosy but yet it did of Naaman, even so the old rugged cross is true to all the claims acclaimed to it in the gospel.
Again I would like to compare the message of the cross to the exodus event in which a bronze snake was raised to a public view for those who were bitten by poisonous snakes. As it was the character of the sojourners at the exodus, they grumbled for lack of bread in the wilderness. Being impatient with God and Moses, they asked “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Numbers 21:5). As a result, they were bitten by venomous snakes and many were lost. In an answer to Moses’ prayer, God responded by doing the unexpected. He asked Moses to raise a bronze snake on a tree and anyone bitten by a snake would only be healed by looking at the bronze snake hanged on a tree. Those who did lived and those who rubbished it died. How can a bronze snake remove a snake venom from one to prevent the person from dying? Isn’t it foolishness? But God used it to save the Hebrews from dying of venoms. Jesus actually in John 3 has said of his Cross giving life to those who believe like the bronze snake that gave life to those who believed.
We are living at a time when reason appears to be more upheld by many. Reason would like to question how a cross, a mere cross on which one supposed to be a criminal hanged can be highly esteemed. It is undeniably right that reason rubbishes the cross of Christ as foolishness, in fact to many, speaking of the cross is an old feeble tale, nothing worth of it. However, the cross of Christ is powerful and only through it, there is reconciliation with God, there is salvation for mankind.
John Piper once said this of the cross: “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.”
I don’t know what you think of the Cross, but whatever you think does not make the cross, what happened on the cross makes it. The cross is worth it because of what happened on it, on it is where the Son of God, the Lamb of God was sacrificed. On the cross is where Christ said, it is finished, indeed God had brought to completion his plan of redemption and made it available to everyone by grace. On the cross is where Christ said “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” It is through the cross that you can receive forgiveness from God. It is on the cross where the blood was poured, the blood that cleanses, the blood that washes our sins. It was on the cross that Christ said to the guilt acknowledging thief hanging on his left, that he would be in paradise with him. Through the cross is our way to God the father, is our way to eternity with God, is the way to our home.
I therefore invite you to the cross of Calvary, that you may have life and have it abundantly. Accept the message of the cross and be saved, deny the message of the cross and be doomed to perish, God would like you to have the former than the latter because it is for you that the cross is.
Welcome to experience life through the cross, the Cross of Christ.
Julius I. Tabi