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Pastoral 2014

His Cross


“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha.”

—John 19:17

He was “delivered… to be crucified” (John 19:16). They placed on His shoulder the cross upon which He would be crucified. Bearing His cross, He went with His cruel and violent adversaries. He, who was to be crucified, first bore the cross for Himself. (Later, they compelled Simon the Cyrenian to bear His cross.)

His bearing of the cross, first of all, manifests the severity of man’s sin. Christ had already been cruelly violated by sinful men. Consider Matthew’s record of what they did to Him before making Him bear the cross: “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:28-31). The violence of sinful men against the blameless Son of God was dreadful. Both the Jews and the Gentile soldiers were involved in shaming and inflicting pain on Christ. The atrocity of man’s sin could not be any worse than its appalling expression on that day of Christ’s crucifixion. Making a cross and forcing the sinless Christ to bear it so that He might be later crucified on it were the most heinous acts that ever occurred on the face of the earth. Oh, the vileness of our sinfulness!

His bearing of the cross, secondly, manifests the serenity of Christ’s love. Though sinful men were unjustly and cruelly torturing Him, it was with great calmness and meekness that the Lord met their cruelty. Apostle Peter, who had watched the forbearance of the suffering Lord, later wrote, “when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Oh, the longsuffering of our Lord towards wicked men such as we are! He meekly accepted all the cruelties of sinful mankind. He did not allow Himself to be provoked by their actions, for He was committed to suffer by their hands that He might give His life for the redemption of sinners. As the Scriptures predicted in Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” He suffered quietly that our sins and condemnation may be removed, so that we may thus be reconciled to God. Love was never so greatly and perfectly manifested on earth as when Christ bore the cross and later died on it for our redemption. As the apostle John wrote, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). His cross is an emblem of His perfect, redeeming love.

By the cross of Christ, we know the gravity of our sin and the greatness of His love towards us. Our sinful hands gave Christ the cross on which He would be crucified; on the other hand, Christ, after His loving hands had first borne it, allowed His hands to be nailed to it as He hung from it, that by His death we might be delivered.

His cross is the reason for our worship today. Without the cross of Christ, we would not have the hope, let alone the privilege, of acceptable worship. If you have come, but without believing Christ as your Saviour and Lord, we plead that you look, by faith, to the cross where Christ died to save sinners who come to Him. His cross saves! We preach to you Christ the crucified, for He alone is our Saviour from sin and condemnation, that we may have eternal life. The preaching of the cross is the centre of our faith and practice. We declare the truth of the cross of Christ that you may be saved.