Colossians 1:19,20--For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross—whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Folly! The word in this case means madness and it describes the reactive opinion of those offended by the gospel message. As Justin wrote in Apology I, “They say that our madness consists in the fact that we put a crucified man in second place after the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of the world.” That anyone could place trust in a crucified “criminal” proclaimed as a Savior was absurdity.
Disgrace! Why would God let Jesus suffer a humiliating end on a cross in a manner reserved for slaves, criminals and those of the lowest class? Moses taught the Jews that anyone who hung on a tree as punishment for a capital offense fell under God’s curse (Deuteronomy 21:23). Hanging victims were a stigma not associated with grace.
Cruel! Many believe the Persians initiated the practice of crucifixion. Regardless, historical evidence shows widespread practice of this horrible means of execution among barbaric peoples. Jesus was flogged, spit on, mocked and forced to wear a thorny crown crammed on his head. His four limbs were spiked to wooden beams causing Him to slowly asphyxiate. On His beaten shoulders sat the sins of a caustic world His broken-hearted Father sent Him to save.
Symbolic! Martin Justin wrote in his book Crucifixion, “This form of execution, more than any other, had associations with the idea of human sacrifice, which was never completely suppressed in antiquity.” God allowed His Son to take on the most wretched state humanity could muster. He smothered depravity with love. The bleating of lambs slaughtered to atone for those who could not keep the law was forever solved by the silenced heartbeat of God’s Lamb.
Salvation! If our convictions, conduct and character are crucified with Christ then we no longer live but Christ lives in us! He went to unthinkable lengths to rescue us from our own rebelliousness. If we stray from the cross and what it means we become mired in self-centeredness. We lose our bearings. We miss our Hero and forget why He came. He embraced the cross to become the Bridge—our only way home.
Reflection! When was the last time you pondered the pain and suffering Jesus endured for you? If our hearts are complacent toward the One who bled for us what passion will fill our lungs with the liberating message of truth for those still stumbling?
If I want to know what God is like, I see it in the Cross.—Oswald Chambers inBiblical Ethics
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)