The Old Rugged Cross
Look around you, and it won’t be long before your eyes set upon the symbol of a cross. Whether it be high atop a steeple, hanging from a necklace, or printed on a bumper sticker, you will not be hard pressed to find one.
When the world sees the cross, they see an object of religious formality or fanaticism; but for those who know the Lord, they understand that it carries a far deeper meaning. For there, on that old rugged cross, all the sins of the world were hung upon the God-Man, Jesus Christ.
The cross, however, has been mocked by the world and misinterpreted by the wicked. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18
When we take time to consider the cross and what our Lord did for us, we understand that the cross was a place of pain. Dying by the cross was the most cruel and inhumane way to execute a person. After being mocked, spit upon, beaten, scourged, and wearing a crown of thorns, our Savior walked that lonely road up to Calvary. There, His broken, bruised, and bloody body lay upon that man-made torture rack. The soldiers nailed His hands and His feet to the cross. Hanging in open shame, our Savior took upon Himself the sins of all mankind.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6)
“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:17-30)
Though it was indeed a place of great pain, the cross was also a place of great promise.
Had there been no garden, there would have been no glory.
Had there been no mob, there would have been no mansion.
Had there been no cross, there would have been no crown.
And had there been no Savior, there would have been no salvation.