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The power of the Cross

Fri, Apr. 21, 2017 Posted: 07:00 PM


The Power of the Cross

Many people believe in the Cross as an object with power because Jesus Holy blood was shed on it.

This tool of torture was transformed from being a curse into becoming a symbol of redemption in the Christian circles ever since the resurrection of Christ.

The Cross of Jesus, as a physical object, must have gained a level of sanctification because Jesus Holy blood and body must have touched it, and eventually sanctified it.

However, the real power of the Cross is not in the object itself, rather it is in the meaning it represents and what Jesus really did up there on Calvary for us. As Paul said: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God” [1 Corinthians 1:18].

Why Crucifixion was used?

According to the Jewish law, as shown in [Deuteronomy 21:22–23], hanging a person on a Cross (pole or tree) was the ultimate punishment, and it was a mark of God’s curse. This was a sign that the crucified person was not approved or blessed by God, and that God’s wrath was ultimately upon that person. The Romans used crucifixion on a Cross in their capital punishment as a sign of insult to the Jewish people, to tell them that they were slaves and enemies of Rome. Owing to the fact that crucifixion was regarded as a curse according to the Jewish law, the Romans practiced this method of punishment to also tell the outlaws of the Jewish people that their own God cursed them because He is allowing such method to be applied in general without Him intervening to save them.

How Crucifixion is related to the original sin?

In the Jewish tradition the concept of cursing and blessing in association with a tree is found in different verses across the Bible, it all started in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and disobeyed God Almighty. That tree, irrespective of what in reality it represented, was in a way a mirror to God’s obedience. It was like a benchmark, which God utilised in order to measure our obedience when we were making part of Adam and Eve through their genetic fabric.
The more we interacted with the forbidden tree, the more the curse increased, the more we distanced ourselves away from that tree the more we got closer to God. But God Almighty, in order to make sure that we love and worship Him out of choice not out of design, embedded into our personality the feature of free will. And gave us the option to select whether we wanted to remain obedient to Him or to explore what is forbidden, what is evil, in other words to experiment what is not part of God’s moral character.
The misuse of this free will has caused Adam and Eve to disobey God Almighty, and get closer to the forbidden tree.

Although the bible does not show this directly, but in a way that forbidden tree was representing the knowledge of evil, this is why the Bible says that they (Adam and Eve) started to have a new knowledge [Genesis 3:22]. Initially, they were living in paradise and all they knew was the knowledge of Good. When one is accustomed to one type of knowledge, he/she cannot realise whether the other type (in this case the knowledge of evil) could exist or not, unless they either experience it, or alternatively to just learn about that type of knowledge without any experimentation.

God said not to interact with that tree, in a way He gave them information about that tree without the need for them to experiment it, “do not eat from its fruit”[Genesis 2:17] was a clear piece of information in the form of instruction, paving the way for Adam and Eve to think and decide without any pressure. The fruit means an outcome or deeds as indicated in [Matthew 7:16], and eating would mean doing, accepting or interacting, simply put, God said do not experiment doing evil by accepting the teaching of the evil one.
The above suggests that the tree was representing the fallen deceiver who was the leader in practicing evildoing and disobedience to God according to [Isaiah 14:12-15], and the dialogue with the old serpent was nothing but one of its deceptions (an incarnation) to attract the first couple into interacting with the tree and become under its influence and experiment evildoing: “its forbidden fruit”.

We can understand from the above, that everyone who disobeyed God must have, in a way, interacted with the forbidden tree and became cursed by God or simply not accepted by Him, and eventually separated from God. And therefore everyone who interacts with that tree will eventually die similarly to when a person is crucified. When we disobey God, we reject His Godship, and His love; we also reject His laws, teaching and decrees. By doing this we indirectly make God a liar, and as a result, His grace starts withdrawing from our life and from our personality, so that we become unaccepted by God Almighty and separated from Him, or in other words we become cursed!

Every offspring of Adam and Eve would end up being cursed forever because they disobeyed God’s commandments and through their genes interacted with the forbidden tree and its fruits.
Simply this is the wage of sin, as Paul indicated in [Romans 6:23]. So basically all humans were supposed to be tied in a way to that tree one day, unless something had to be done to reverse this inevitability. In fact all humans through their Sin were already attached, affixed or in a way crucified on that tree, due to their disobedience to God almighty. That is we all are already dead, but we are just living a transitory period in separation from God culminating in being thrown into the lake of fire.

Based on this understanding, the Jewish law was very categorical when pronouncing judgement. People who were sentenced with capital punishment, were normally stoned to death. But those who were not observing the law and disobeying God’s commandments were punished by being crucified to a tree or a by-product of a tree such as a pole or a Cross, which was the case under the Roman rule. This is to say that this person, because God has not accepted him, must have broken the covenant with God and deserve to be cut from society due to committing the ultimate sin of disobedience, so that the wrath of God can be fully poured upon him in front of everyone by being tied to a Cross (the disobedience tree) in remembrance of the original sin of Adam and Eve and what they have done when they pledged allegiance to the deceiver (the tree of knowledge of evil) instead of remaining obedient to God and loving their very Creator.

When the Jewish religious leaders asked Pilate to crucify our Lord, they wanted to label Jesus as someone who is not accepted by God since Jesus had already exposed their hypocrisy on several occasions. They wanted to say that this man who is declaring Himself God in the flesh necessitates crucifixion! But hang on a second, if someone declares Himself God in the flesh or equal with God as shown in [John 10:30-33], and [John 8:58] would require stoning for blasphemy according to the Jewish law as shown in [Leviticus 24:16] not to be hung on a Cross!!! So why those religious leaders changed their minds? In fact the Jews tried several times to stone Jesus, but they realised that Jesus Christ was, after every attempt to stone Him, growing in popularity, and again and again declaring Himself equal and one with God Almighty as shown in [John 10:31-39], [John 5:17-18], [John 8:24], and [John 8:58].

The Sanhedrin tried on different occasions to plot against Jesus in order to stone Him to death, but they realised that the people started to support Jesus’ mission, and if they stone Him, this will create a huge chaos among the Jews, and would pose a crucial question in the minds of the people, “why this sinless rabbi (Jesus) was killed for blasphemy where he has never committed any evil?”

So the best way was to charge Jesus with a greater accusation, which can only be decided by the inner circle of the high priest, to plot against Him and arrest Him away from the public eye and to accuse Him with the lie of violating the Jewish Law and thus being accursed by God, so that “it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed”. This greater accusation of violating the Jewish Law would eventually necessitate crucifixion according to [Deuteronomy 21:22–23]. However we try to understand the reasons behind accusing and arresting Jesus we end up with an unavoidable truth that Jesus was going to die on a Cross.
Be it the method of capital punishment for the enemies of Rome, the cultural or historic death penalty, or the penalty for the one who violates God’s Law, Jesus human destiny was the Cross. And that is because Jesus was the antidote which neutralises Sin, which emanated by being attached to the “tree of knowing evil”, thus reversing the disobedience of humans, and reconciling the offspring of Adam and Eve with their Creator. Sin started on a tree and was abolished on a tree (The Cross being a by-product of a tree). God decreed this inevitability. Jesus on the Cross, with His own free will, reversed once and for all what Adam & Eve had done against God. He established the covenant of Grace and adopted all Humanity, so that every person who believes in Christ will be saved from the authority of Sin, death, and the wrath of God. Jesus expunged Sin by affixing Himself on the tree of disobedience instead of us.

When we believe in the what Jesus did on the Cross, in His promise to us, and declare and believe in Jesus as our Saviour God, we become adopted children of God as shown in [Acts 7:21], [Psalm 27:10] and [Esther 2:7], even St. Paul goes a step further to argue that in fact the children of God are not those of the flesh (because God is Spirit) but those adopted with a promise as shown in [Romans 9:8-9]. Our DNA, our everything, gets transformed to be in the likeness of Christ, and be His Children once again.

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, before he died a few years back, said what could be rendered as: ‘I feel cold and lonely when I go to hospital alone for treatment, and wonder why I can’t send someone in my place to do these things on my behalf!!” Steve was explaining about his agony while fighting a disease, and he was right, in everything we do we can more or less “outsource” our activity to a third party or someone who can do things on our behalf with the exception of disease and death.

Throughout history no one could outsource death, but Jesus Christ alone, He was the outsourcing provider to all our Sins and deaths. Jesus transferred all our Sins to Him and accepted God’s wrath on our behalf. He accepted to be affixed on the Cross instead of us. I would have hoped to be given the opportunity to tell Steve Jobs about what Jesus did for him and for all of us on the Cross. But the important message is, when we believe in Jesus, we repent for our sins and we declare Jesus the Lord of our life and put our trust in Him, we basically outsource our sins to Jesus, and effectively transfer all our sins to Jesus on the Cross, so that He makes our sins die with Him once and for all. And He resurrects us with His glorious resurrection. Every time someone new believes in Jesus and accepts Him as their personal saviour is actually signing this covenant of grace with Jesus, because all our sins were paid for by Him on the Cross.

The power of the Cross cannot be imagined, it is the only solution by which a human being can be saved, if and only if they believe in Jesus Christ!

I invite you all to appreciate the power of the Cross and what Jesus has done for you on Calvary, and believe in Christ and accept Him as your personal Saviour, while He is interceding continuously for us with God almighty. Because soon He will come again in great glory, do you want to face Jesus as your saviour or as the Mighty Judge? The choice is yours.

May the blessings be multiplied to you all.

George Yazigi