This road to the Cross started in Genesis. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned, God had a plan already in place. “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9) This is what the Cross of Jesus is all about. It is about God calling out to us, “Where are you?” The Cross of Jesus is God’s plan to bring us back to a relationship with Him.
Last devotion I asked you to think about what the cross means to you. You live in a Christian land. You probably attend the worship of a Christian church. You have perhaps been baptized in the name of Christ. You profess and call yourself a Christian. All of this is well; it is more than can be said of millions in the world. But all this is not an answer to my question, “What do you think and feel about the cross of Christ?” I want to tell you what the greatest Christian who ever lived thought of the cross of Christ. He has written down his opinion and given his judgment in words that cannot be mistaken. The man I refer to is the apostle Paul. You will find his words in the letter which the Holy Spirit inspired him to write to the Galatians; “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” (Galatians 6:14-15). Now what did Paul mean by this? He meant to declare strongly that he trusted in nothing but Jesus Christ crucified for the pardon of his sins and the salvation of his soul. Let others, if they would, look elsewhere for salvation; let others, if they were so disposed, trust in other things for pardon and peace. But for his part, the apostle was determined to rest on nothing, lean on nothing, build his hope on nothing, place confidence in nothing, and glory in nothing except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ crucified was the joy and the delight, the comfort and the peace, the hope and the confidence, the foundation and the resting place, the ark and the refuge, the food and the medicine of Paul’s soul. He did not think of what he had done himself and suffered himself. He did not meditate on his own goodness and his own righteousness. He loved to think of what Christ had done and what Christ had suffered – of the death of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, the atonement of Christ, the blood of Christ, the finished work of Christ. In this he did glory. This was the sun of his soul.”
The cross sometimes means that wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus was nailed and put to death on Mount Calvary. This is what Paul had in his mind’s eye when he told the Philippians that Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8). This is not the cross in which Paul gloried, however. He would have shrunk with horror from the idea of glorying in a mere piece of wood. The cross sometimes means the afflictions and trials which believers in Christ have to go through if they follow Christ faithfully for their religion’s sake. This is the sense in which our Lord uses the word when He says, “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39) This is the Cross that Paul talks about in Galatians. This is the Cross that we must have in our lives. If we are to be followers of Jesus Christ, the Cross of Jesus must mean everything in the world to us.
The Cross is the center of The Greatest Story. It is not the end of the story; the end of the story gets better. The next part of the story is the Resurrection.