Understanding the Cross

Understanding the Cross

Greetings in the name of Christ,

As we head toward Good Friday and remembering the crucifixion of Jesus, I want us to ponder what the cross means to each of us.  Most often we hear folks claim that Jesus died for the sins of the world.  This is referred to as the atonement theory.  While it is one of the understandings of the cross, it is not the only meaning.

In last Sunday’s sermon, I offered some other meanings Jesus’ death offers.  I include some of the ideas with the relating scripture in hopes you might read, reflect, and search for a deeper and fuller understanding of the cross.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  There are many images and meanings of the cross and all may hold a piece of truth.  I suggested on Sunday that looking at the cross was like looking into a kaleidoscope.  We move/grow a little and we find we have a new understanding, a new point of view; a larger Truth: all of what we see if valid and beautiful.  All images and understandings help us understand this amazing God we worship and deepen our knowledge, understanding, and love for Her/Him.

Here are some references that might assist you on your search:

John 1:36        “Lamb of God”
Genesis 22     Abraham/ Isaac
Exodus 12      Release of Israelites from bondage in Egypt/ Passover
Leviticus         Various – lambs offered as sacrifices to God regarding sin and guilt
John 19           Crucifixion

In the Gospel of John, John the Baptist referred to multiply images of animal sacrifice found in the Old Testament as he called Jesus the “Lamb of God.”  We remember Abraham’s sacrifice offering of Isaac however, God provided a ram in place of his son. (Genesis 22).  In Exodus, the lamb slaughtered was cooked and eaten for nourishment for the journey, but also the blood of the lamb, placed over the doorpost, saved the Israelites from the angel of death.  This connection is made as John’s Jesus on the cross is offered wine vinegar on a hyssop plant.  Jesus is also linked in Jesus to forgiveness, freedom from slavery and death, and as an offering to God in expressing gratitude.

John 3:14-16
Numbers 21     Son lifted up snake on pole

Jesus would bring folks away from self-absorption to look at him.  He offers healing; forgiveness and believing in him would deliver us from death.

John 12:32       Draw people to myself.

Over 2000 years and Jesus continues to be known throughout the world.  A commonality of knowing about him exists throughout the world and through the centuries.  It is left for each person to decide to choose Jesus or not.

John 12:24       Martyrdom

Jesus stood up to the powers that be to speak for the least the lost and oppressed.  He died for what he believed and asks his followers to continue his mission.

Luke 22:20
John 18:11       New Covenant

Provide a new covenant between God and humanity:  A covenant to love on another as I have loved you.  Jesus us shows love of him, giving entire life for his believe and work to love others.

John 20
Jesus crucified near a garden, was buried in a garden, and was raised from death in a garden.  Jesus appeared to Mary on Easter morning as a gardener Gospel of John… Jesus seems to reversing the curse that came from human disobedient to God in the Garden of Eden.  Jesus is restoring paradise.

There are many more meanings, metaphors, and images.  I hope this helps you begins to put more depth, thought, appreciation of what you believe and think about when you see the cross.

In Christ’ Light and Love,

Pastor Pat