Looking at the cross (religion)

Published 3:16 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2016

By Robert Griffin

As Easter nears, my thoughts often go back to a sunrise service years ago. The service was at Robinson Baptist Church on Route 4, Liberty, Miss. (Jerry Clower fans will recognize that address.) Robinson was the country church I pastored during my seminary days.



The setting for the service was on the hillside by the church and was absolutely beautiful. A deacon made us three big crosses from dogwood trees. He planted the crosses near the hilltop, above where we would be seated and watch the sunrise. Well-timed, the weather, service and view that Easter morning were awesome.

Afterwards, Evan, a young church member who lived nearby, asked, “Preacher, can I have those crosses?” After persistent requests, I relented and let him have them. Curious, I inquired, “Evan, what are you going to do with those crosses?” His reply was, “I’m going to make a treehouse with them.”

Obviously, young Evan looked at the three crosses and saw a treehouse. But, earnestly, what do you see when you look at the Cross of Christ?

Now, let’s think back to the first Good Friday. The Bible says of those around the cross, “And the people stood beholding” (Luke 23:35). Here, the Greek word translated “beholding” means “to look at, gaze.” As they looked at that gruesome scene, what did they see? Today, what do we see when we look at the Cross of Christ?

First, we should see our sin. That’s right: sin. Remember, God’s Word declares, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus Christ] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Indeed, on His Cross, Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the whole world.

Friend, if you looked at the cross and did not see sin, you need to look again. Thankfully, Jesus, God’s Son, died on the cross for my sin and yours.

Next, we need to see the seriousness of our sin. Folks, sin is serious business. Presently, it may not seem too serious to us. Nevertheless, it’s so severe God dealt sternly with it at the cross by offering His only Son for our sins. Also, the Bible reminds us of sin’s seriousness by contending, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Finally, at the cross we can see the tremendous love of God. In fact, Romans 5:8 affirms, “But God commendeth [demonstrated] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Perhaps, God’s love is the paramount sight we see at the cross. There, Jesus’ outstretched arms and nail-pierced hands compel us to contemplate God’s astonishing love.

In conclusion, consider the words of an old hymn:

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

The Rev. Robert Griffin is pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Clanton. Look for another installment of his column in a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser.