Week of December 16
The Foreshadowed Cross
What does the symbol of the Cross mean to you? To many people, the Cross is merely an archaic emblem. To others, the Cross invokes feelings of guilt or confusion. Some churches even see it as a hindrance to attracting nonbelievers.
Yet the early believers chose the Cross as their symbol for a special reason. There were many symbols of Jesus’ earthly ministry to represent them. They could have chosen a manger to represent where baby Jesus was born. They could have chosen a boat, from which Jesus taught the crowd in Galilee. They could have chosen an apron, which Jesus wore when He washed the disciples’ feet. They could have chosen a throne or a crown, to represent His divine and sovereign rule.
But instead they chose the Cross that proclaims that the wages of sin are fully paid, and that the perfect sacrifice has been fully offered. Through the Cross we have redemption and life with Christ in heaven. Through the Cross we know that sin has been defeated.
The symbol of the cross did not first appear at the death of Jesus. As early as the book of Genesis, we begin to see the foreshadowing of the cross. From the moment Adam and Eve decided to go their own way from God’s commandments, God began lifting up the Cross. We see it when the blood of an innocent lamb was shed to atone for Adam and Eve’s disobedience. We see the symbol of the Cross when God’s people participated in Passover.
But these animal sacrifices of the Old Testament could never take away sin permanently. Only the pure blood of the Lamb of God can truly purge sin. The animal sacrifices reminded God’s people that sin is a costly offense to a Holy God. And these sacrifices pointed forward to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
Many people are drawn to the magnanimous love of God, but they hesitate to acknowledge the righteousness and holiness of God. Righteousness demands that sin be punished. For God’s justice to prevail, sin and rebellion against God must be dealt with. Since the only covering for sin is the shedding of innocent blood, God shed His own blood--the most innocent blood of all.
Because God shed His own blood, we can find forgiveness of sins, relief from guilt, peace with God and eternal life in heaven.
The entire plan of God, from Genesis to Revelation, is built on the Cross. When that first innocent lamb’s blood was shed for Adam and Eve, they understood the enormity of their disobedience. They understood that God’s justice must be met.
How do you view the Cross? How do you allow the Cross to impact your life, to motivate you, to inspire you? How often do you thank God for the Cross? Stop and thank God right now for His ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.
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