The Cross of Jesus Changes Everything
The Cross is the centerpiece of human history. By the death and resurrection of Jesus everything changed in an instant. Death came by one man in an instant through Adam’s disobedience. Life was made available to all men in an instant when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” There was never more a definite statement made in all of history!
For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News- and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 1 Cor. 1:17-18
The message of the Apostles was Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. The very nature and essence of
God is seen in the crucified Christ. Jesus declared that He came to reveal the Father to humanity.
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! (John 14:5-9 NASB)
We can see the perfect picture of God through Jesus on the cross.
So the question we must ask ourselves is this:
Does the cross change the way that God sees us or does it change the way that we see God? (Tweet this)
I would boldly declare that it changes the way that we see God. Many Christians tend to believe that God was so angry with the world that Jesus went to the cross to satisfy the anger of the Father. As long as people believe in Jesus then He is acting as a shield against the anger of the Father. In this view Jesus becomes our umbrella of protection.
But what if this isn’t true and the cross shows us the love of God rather than the wrath of God? What if the cross is the greatest expression of the love of the Father? Jesus said that greater love has no man than this: that a man would lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13). Jesus laid down his life for us, his friends, to take our place for the punishment of sin, not God’s wrath. By taking on our sins Jesus suffered the penalty of sin . . . death.
I believe that the cross changes the way that we view our heavenly Father. Here are some ways that the cross has changed my view of God, my Father.
He is a Father who would rather die and forgive his enemies than to cast them aside in violence.
Jesus could have called down legions of angels in order to deliver himself from the cross. He could have justly killed every one of those that demanded his crucifixion. But he didn’t. On the cross badly beaten, his body broken, blood draining from his body Jesus cries out for forgiveness. He even declares that the people don’t know what they are doing. In the midst of his violent death he responds with forgiveness and grace.
He would rather die than to live without them. The cross was the greatest injustice the world has ever known. It was deicide…..the killing of God himself. Yet, the greatest injustice is not met with violence. It was met with forgiveness. In His book Unconditional? Brian Zahnd says, “But let’s understand the cross of Christ correctly. The cross of Christ is less the payment of a debt than it is the absorption of injustice.”
He is a loving and merciful Father willing to absorb the punishment due to His children.
The wages of sin is death according to Romans 3:23. I have sinned. My sins are worthy of death. Some of my sins were accidental; most were intentional. I have done things willfully that I knew that God would not approve of. I have broken his laws, commandments and statutes. I deserve to die for sinning against a holy and just God.
However, God was willing to die in my place in order that I may be reconciled to Him.
- He is reconciling the world to Himself, not condemning the world. God is not reconciling Himself to the world, rather He is reconciling the world to Himself through His own initiative – the cross. He is taking care of the sin problem. He is taking care of that which hinders, separates and damages our relationship with Him. Bruxy Cavey says, “On the cross Jesus reaped what we have sown and then forgave us.” What a powerful statement.
- The cross is not about the wrath of God, it’s about the love of God. So many people wrongly believe that Jesus was suffering the wrath of God. What kind of Father would pour out wrath on His child? If any human parent did what we accuse God of, society would lock up that parent. The cross is the love of God personified. The cross is God’s love on display.
- He is the Father who initiates the solution for His children’s mistakes. Because of sin we would never be able to measure up to God’s standards. We couldn’t fix the problem of sin. God steps down into humanity, takes sin upon Himself and becomes the solution to the disobedience of Adam that has plagued humanity. God is the one who comes looking for us. He is the seeker of the lost. He is the one that forgives and doesn’t hold our sins against us.
The Cross changes the way we view the World.
The last point is that as Christians we should see the world through the lens of the cross instead of the lens of
judgment. We see that the world is something that Jesus was willing to die for. Therefore…..
- The world is not something to be quickly given up on and thrown into hell. Far too many Christians are ready to bail out on this world awaiting “the rapture” so that they can escape the evil and suffering here on earth. God thought the world was worth saving…we should too.
- We regard no man after the flesh. We need to start seeing people as God sees them. People are important to God and they should be important to us as well. It is not the church’s place to judge the world. We must leave that to God.
- We see everyone as valuable, loved of God. We see them as someone worthy of the death of Jesus.
- We offer forgiveness, not violence. Violence isn’t the answer. Jesus showed us that on the cross. He could have violently destroyed those that ordered his execution but he didn’t. He forgave them. We should do the same.
“God’s most profound self-revelation is seen in the Cross. We usually think the Cross is something God did to “solve” the sin problem that alienates us from God. In his visionary experience, however, John realized that in the Cross we see the manifestation of the essence of God’s nature. The Cross reveals who God is, not what God did as an action separate from God’s nature.“ Dr. M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.