“And I , If I Am Lifted Up FromThe Earth, Will Draw All Peoples To Myself.” John 12:32
To this day it is idolized, trashed, spit upon, or burned. Some call it the hinge of history others call it the biggest hoax ever imagined by man. To millions it points the way to heaven to others it a stumbling block. To some it’s the world’s good news to others it’s the scandal of the ages. Its two ugly beams have been studded with diamonds and overlaid with gold. It is worn on people’s necks and ears and wrists. You can love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it. Many of the three hundred places of worship in America display it on their rooftops. The Cross is the central fact of the Gospel.
The government of Polish Prime Minister Jaruzelski (an avowed Communist and the man who declared martial law in an attempt to crush the freedom seeking Solidarity Movement in the 1980’s) had ordered crucifixes removed from classroom walls, just as they had been banned in factories, hospitals, and other public institutions. Catholic bishops attacked the ban that had stirred waves of anger and resentment all across Poland. Ultimately the government relented, insisting that the law remain on the books, but agreeing not to press for removal of the crucifixes, particularly in the schoolrooms.
But one zealous Communist school administrator in Garwolin decided that the law was the law. So one evening he had seven large crucifixes removed from lecture halls where they had hung since the school’s founding in the twenties. Days later, a group of parents entered the school and hung more crosses. The administrator promptly had these taken down as well.
The next day two-thirds of the school’s six hundred students staged a sit-in. When heavily armed riot police arrived, the students were forced into the streets. Then they marched, crucifixes held high, to a nearby church where twenty-five hundred other students from nearby schools joined them for a morning of prayer in support of the protest. Soldiers surrounded the church. But the pictures from inside of students holding crosses high above their heads flashed around the world. So did the words of the priest who delivered the message to the weeping congregation that morning. “There is no Poland without a cross.”
In the United States, we have followed the same path as the Socialist/Communist government of Poland: we have removed prayer from our schools or any public gathering other than the church; we have removed the 10 commandments from every public building; we have taken down the cross from every public building. The well-armed police of our land will forcibly remove those objects if we attempt to keep them and cast those who try to oppose them into jail cells.
The same statement holds true for America, “There is no America without the Cross!”
One of the worse Attorney Generals America ever had was Janet Reno. I recall her being interviewed way back in 1999 on the CBS show, “60 Minutes ” when she said, “A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who have a high level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home schools their children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government. Any of these may qualify a person as a cultist but certainly more than one of these would cause us to look at this person as a threat and his family as being in a risk situation that qualifies for government interference.”
Why Is The Cross Such A Powerful Magnate?
One reason is because it is only in the Cross-that you see the Love of God. I look into the Cross-and the Cross-becomes a window through which I see the heart of a loving God. I look into the sun and I see the energy of God. I look into the stars and see the infinity of God. I look at the atoms and see the complexity of God. But it is only in the Cross that I see the love of God. It is only in the Cross that I see a love so great that God was willing to die for me. It is only in the Cross that I hear the voice of God saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
“No greater love is this, than a person is willing to lay down his life for his friend.” There is no greater love than a person is willing to die for another, and on the Cross Jesus demonstrated that he loves us.
Different Views Of The Cross
Some View The Cross-Through Eyes Of Worship And Love;
God does not drag us to the Cross he draws us there. Another power that draws us there is the power of Forgiveness, which we all so desperately need. The Lifting Up of the Cross is a reference to the brazen serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness; and all who looked to it were healed. “Lifted up” means that it was a public thing not a private thing; it was for the multitudes not for a select few. In the chivalrous days of old the ensigns or colors of commanders of regiments, were elevated on the highest hill, on long poles, so that the soldiers of each legion might see where the pavilion of their general was, and so flock to his standard; such are the soldiers of the Cross of Christ. Our eyes are fixed on him who stands between heaven and earth, between a holy God and a sinful world. His Cross is the standard, his love is the blood stained banner, and he himself is the ensign, to which penitent sinners are drawn.
Take the Cross out of Christianity and it becomes a dead religion. Christianity in Europe has done this very thing and that is why it is bland and dying a slow death.
As we look upon the Cross we are constantly reminded of the price that Jesus paid for our sins. We believe that he is God and that he is our loving Savior. That’s why we come to church, read our Bibles, pray and do our best to live lives pleasing to him. Though we will never understand its mystery, we are drawn to it as a light in a dark place.
There is not a day goes by but we think of what Jesus did for us there and we cannot help but be thankful! Every time we slip and fall morally we run to it because we find forgiveness there. To us the Cross-is not a crutch, it’s our life, our hope, our hiding place. When some great crisis happens in the world, it’s our shelter in the time of storm; it’s our rock in a weary land. It gives us focus and clarity that good will overcome evil and right will prevail over wrong.
Some Look Upon The Cross-Through Eyes Of Unbelief And Hatred.
Sadly, the vast majority of mankind does not look upon the Cross-as a symbol of God’s love to save them from their sins. They look upon the Cross-as a symbol of man’s power to control them. “We will not have this man to rule over us.” Most people want to be the captain of their own soul, the master of their own destiny. They want a god of their own making. They want to choose their own way to heaven without the interference of some higher power that dictates what is right or wrong, just or unjust for them. Most people who see the Cross do not see the salvation that is offered to them there. To them, the Cross-is a symbol only of judgment and death. They hate to be reminded of their sin and they cannot understand the power of salvation that is connected to the death of a criminal upon a cross.
The real meaning of the cross can only be seen and understood as the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of their heart. Otherwise it is like trying to describe the beauty and colors of the sunset to a man who never saw a day in his life. Those whose spiritual eyes are blinded by sin and who still love that sin will never be able to see the Cross-for what it really is. To them it is an event that happened long ago and they would just as soon forget about it.
Jesus Wants To Be Lifted Up In Your Heart
Jesus’ words, “And I, If I Am Lifted Up From The Earth, Will Draw All Peoples To Myself,” go even beyond the Cross.
If Jesus’ life had ended on the Cross we would still be in our sins. He had to be raised from the dead. His sacrificial death had to be accepted by the Father. How do we know that Jesus death on the Cross-was accepted by the Father as the price for our sins? The empty tomb, the empty tomb of Christ is proof that the Father accepted his death as the sacrifice for our sins. “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”
At this moment Jesus sits on a throne in heaven, which signifies his position of power and authority. And he waits for you to let him sit on the throne of your heart
He is God, He is Lord, He is master, and none can stand before Him dressed in the own self-righteousness.
Mankind can shake its fist into the face of God all he wants; he can turn away in disgust from the bloody sacrifice upon the Cross; he can deny the provision for his salvation; he can manipulate the truth and even deny the power of the resurrection; he can even deny that Jesus exists as God at this very moment; but on judgment day every knew shall bow in recognition of his death on the Cross as the ultimate sacrifice for sin.
“As I live, says the lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.”
But for those that wait it will be too late. It’s like shutting the door after the horse ran away; the ball has already crossed the goal line, you can’t rearrange the cement, you can’t put the grapes back on the vine.
On that day every soul that ever lived, every fallen angel, every power of darkness, even Satan, shall confess, even if it be against their will, that Jesus is Lord, Master, Savior and God. Every tongue shall speak, but not every heart will be changed.
They will then confess that they rejected the only one who could save their soul but it will be eternally too late.
The Cross Is Still Drawing Millions To Its Side To This Very Day
People from every nation tongue and tribe are still attracted to the foot of the old rugged Cross. Everyday millions of people embrace it for the first time; young, old people, rich, poor, literate, illiterate; its shame and reproach they gladly bear.
The Power of the Cross is due to the person who shed his blood on it for the redemption of our sins. It can do for you what no other power or friend can do. It takes away sin, removes guilt, give you peace with God and as a result peace with yourself.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God.”
That is why Paul said;
“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Cross tells us that we are powerless to save ourselves; that we cannot save ourselves any more than we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. If we could, it would be as though you went to the foot of the cross and told Jesus, “You don’t need to die for my sins; I can make it without your death.” Of course, this is non-sense. All religions are not the same, there are not different ways to the same God. That is why Jesus said;
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me“ (John. 14:6).
Robert Bruce, a Scottish patriot, was hiding from the English king, king Edward, who ordered him to be captured and put into jail. But they couldn’t catch him. One day they got hold of his dogs. He realized his peril, for his dogs would lead them to him. So he ran to a brook, entered the water, but then walked along the stream. So when the dogs reached the water, they lost his trail and could no longer trace him. And so he escaped.
And so it is when you plunge into Calvary’s stream and ask Jesus to wash away your sins. They will be remembered against you no more. The magnetism of the gospel is the Cross and the power of the Cross it that God wants you to live forever with him.
He’s Only A Prayer Away!