The Cross of Christ

On a hill overlooking the harbour of Macao, near Hong Kong, Portuguese settlers built a massive and majestic cathedral. But over time, destroyed by a typhoon, it fell in ruins, except for one wall. “On the top of that high jutting wall, challenging the elements down through the years,” writes American Evangelist Billy Graham, “was a huge bronze Cross, that moved Sir John Bowring to write the opening  words of the hymn: In the cross of Christ I glory, / Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time.”

The cross is synonymous to torture and death. Today, on Good Friday, the day when Christians recall the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, the cross is venerated with added obeisance. For, Christians believe that by Christ’s crucifixion and His death on the cross, we are released from the guilt of sin and accepted as righteous in God’s sight (Colossians 1:20).
Looking around at the world we live in, the ravages caused by sin is more than palpable: the bitter scars of war and hatred, the ugliness of poverty and oppression, the wrenching pain of loneliness and rejection, the desperate cries of the orphans and widows, the cruelty of terror and trafficking and a thousand other daily tragedies reveal the pain humanity inflicts upon itself through the poison of sin. And yet, the crucified Christ took man’s sins upon his cross on that day more than 2000 years ago when on the cross he “surrendered his spirit” and faced his death in humble obedience to God imploring, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26: 39).

Jesus Christ was crucified between two thieves on a rugged cross on Calvary, just outside Jerusalem on that first Good Friday. With a crown of thorns on His head, three nails fastened brutally to His hands and feet, flogged and tortured and left hanging on the cross to experience the excruciating pain of death by suffocation, Jesus died a violent and shameful death. Even so, in this death lies man’s redemption from sins such that all humanity can join in the hymn: “In the cross of Christ I glory, /Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time.”

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