There are times when I sit back, musing about whether or not it is at all possible for mere mortals such as ourselves, who are encased within these corruptible bodies, to ever fully comprehend the sheer greatness of the cross. I believe that there are four aspects of the cross that can begin to help us to understand the magnitude of its meaning. Each aspect will begin to bring clarity to the greatest event in human history.
The Veracity of the Cross
It should not be a surprise to any of us that there are those in this world who do not believe that Jesus ever existed, thereby wiping out all that he ever did, including dying on the cross. While the reasons are varied, I believe it takes a very darkened heart to even suggest such a thing. None of the reasons are valid, and none of them stand under biblical truth. All I need to know in Scripture concerning His existence, and by solidifying all that he ever did, is found in one verse:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
That does it for me. But I am sure that Satan himself would love to wipe away the memories he has of Christ and himself in the wilderness, where he went down in defeat. Most of all he would love to erase his memories of that fateful day for him when Jesus died on the cross, sealing his fate.
“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).
The apostle Paul tells us about the truth of the cross:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Yes, it is all true! And it means everything to all, especially to those in the household of faith.
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The Value of the Cross
It must be understood that when we speak of the cross, we are not speaking of the wooden beam that Jesus died on. But rather we speak of the event at the hill called Golgotha and what transpired there. But what did it all mean? What was its value? Defining the word value, we read from Lexico: “The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”
How can we adequately describe the worth, and importance of the cross? What can we say that will express its unequaled merits? We can state a few things that will only just begin to scratch the surface.
Without the cross we have no life worth living. I have often asked the question, “How do people live without Jesus?” Then I remember that I once lived without Him too:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
“And such were some of you, but you are washed…” Look at the value of the cross! The chorus of an old hymn says it well: “I know it was the blood, I know it was the blood! I know it was the blood for me! One day when I was lost, Jesus died upon the cross! Yes I know it was the blood for me!”
When we speak of the value of the Cross, we are speaking about His blood that was shed for me, and for you.
Without the cross there is no Heaven. If Jesus had not died on the cross, there would be no heaven to speak of, because hell would be our portion. Romans 6:23 would be abruptly abbreviated; “For the wages of sin is death…” There would be no gift of God, and there would be no eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Can you imagine that? I cannot.
Without the Cross there is no forgiveness. What do you do with sin? The fact that we are born-again, does not exempt us from this plague. We still have a sin nature, that is more than ready, willing, and able to oblige us. But thank God for the cross; its value extends to the forgiveness of your sin.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
Because of the cross, my sins are gone! They are no longer counted against me. My sins in the eyes of the Lord are forgiven and forgotten. This is truly remarkable, but it only begins to tell the story of the value of the cross. What can be said that hasn’t been said about Jesus?
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The Victory of the Cross
Here we have the meaning of it all — the victory of the cross. The event at Calvary culminated with the death of Jesus Christ, but what were its results? We have spoken about the disarming of Satan, and his defeat, but is there more? Yes! Christ’s victory on the cross means victory for you and me! And the victory that we have is all because of his love for us which compelled Him to sacrifice Himself on our behalf — and nothing can change it.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).
Another old chorus says it better than I can tell it: “Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever! He sought me and he bought me, with his redeeming blood! He loved me ’ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him; He plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood!”
The Vision of the Cross
Have you seen the cross for all its worth? Are you able behold the wonder of it all? Have you ever stopped to think where you would be if it had it not been for His great sacrifice? I believe that if we all were to step back and catch a vision of the cross, and see it for all its worth, that we would appreciate Him more, love Him more, praise Him more, and serve Him better. Since He has done so much for us, let us strive to do all for Him.
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Michael Jakes is an Associate Pastor, Bible teacher, and writer. He is co-founder of That’s The Word! Ministries, a distinctly Cross-centered outreach. He has also been active in youth ministry for over 30 years, and hosts two live weekly podcasts, "The Bible Speaks Live," and "The Cutting It Right Bible Study." Michael is the author of, The Lights In The Windows, a book concerned with the need for the Church to evangelize. Michael and his wife Eddye have been married for 40 years, and reside in New York. You can follow him on Youtube and listen to his podcasts on Spreaker.