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THE CROSS

The Cross stands alone as the most controversial symbol in world history! Without question it has also been---and IS ABUSED, MISUSED AND WORSHIPED.   Some of the world's greatest abuse has been done in front of the Cross.

YET the Cross today graces the top of church steeples, hangs in churches and is on the front of most Bibles.   For many Christians the sign of the cross is at birth, baptism, communion, marriage, and death.

Cross carrying has never been viewed in a true historical sense 'a pleasure'
or in early years 'a work of art' or an 'object of beauty.'

People died horrible bloody agonizing, tortured death on crosses. It was the symbol of the worst in man. Even most ancient Christian art is full of blood in its scene of the crucifixion. The art shows suffering and agony a very ugly picture. Yet the modern cross is cleaned up, gone is the blood, gone are the swarming flies that would be crawling about on the face of the crucified, gone is the smell of death and the ring of hammer against nail as it tears through the skin. NOW the cross is gold or silver and perhaps studded with diamonds or emeralds.

In the days of the cross people would see one and vomit, look away in disgust or ridicule it. TODAY we say:

'Oh how lovely'

'How beautiful'

'It looks so nice'

'Where did you buy yours? ''What did it cost?'

 All things no first century follower of Jesus would ever utter. Do you see how shallow we've become? How lost? You don't buy a Cross you carry a Cross Jesus said.

What did it cost? It cost the Father His Son---and the Son---His life. What does the Cross cost you? EVERYTHING

Jesus said 'Should anyone come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.' The true follower of Jesus has forsaken self, has taken up his cross (instrument of death) and is following Jesus. We can wear a cross and look good but in the heart have you crucified self, taken up your cross and are you following Jesus? Its the heart God sees and knows.

Many Protestants in smug superiority condemn the Catholics for having the image of Jesus on the cross. Or a Jesus like a super sports hero who always wins! NO, The real Man Jesus carried a REAL Cross, shed REAL blood, suffered in a REAL body, and his REAL dead body was taken down and buried in a tomb.

Jesus sweat Real drops of blood in the garden the night before He was crucified. He prayed to the Father "if it is possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done!" Within hours a scourged, bloody and tortured Jesus is carrying a Cross toward Calvary. No beautiful cross there, No-one saying 'this cross would look good on you!' Horror of horrors----how could we, even worse how do we? At that Cross no cheering crowds, no wild adulation, no long ovation of applause ONLY jeers, mockery, curses, nails, blood and a cross as the Son of God bought our souls with his life!

SYMBOLS

For many modern people the importance of symbols is almost lost yet the message they can convey is awesome and biblical. Symbols are very important in the Bible.

In the Garden of Eden God made for Adam and Eve, a covering of skin to cloth them from their nakedness after their sin. God did the first killing--a life was given! blood was shed! a covering was made!

Abraham, years afterward was told by God to kill his son upon a wooden altar. Just as Abraham was lifting up the knife, God stopped him and said there is a ram caught in the bush, offer him instead. Again, a life was given, blood was shed, a covering was made!

In Egypt as God was leading Moses to lead the Hebrews out of bondage God had the people kill a lamb, put the blood over the doorpost, a covering was made to keep the death angel away. Again a life was given, blood was shed, a covering was made!

Still later, in the temple in Jerusalem the high priest, once a year would kill a spotless Lamb, its blood would be sprinkled on the altar, a covering for the sins of the people. Once again a life was given, blood was shed, a covering was made!

At Calvary, God offered up His Son Jesus, His life was given, Jesus' blood was shed, a covering was made for our sins. But not just a covering JESUS TAKES AWAY THE SIN, JESUS FORGIVES SIN, JESUS CLEANSES FROM SIN, JESUS WASHES AWAY SIN, HALLELUJAH!

 

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