Monday June 10, 2019
At the Cross
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
A Symbol of Suffering and Shame
Perhaps the most-recognizable symbol in the world is the cross of Jesus Christ. The Romans used the cross to execute criminals. Death by crucifixion was considered to be an extremely humiliating and painful death. In fact, it was considered so inhumane that no Roman citizen could be executed by crucifixion. The cross was a symbol of suffering and shame.
Yet, Jesus went to the cross to die for sins. As someone has so eloquently put it, “He lived a life that we could not live and died a death we should have died.” Because of His death, burial, and resurrection, we have the promise of eternal life through faith in His name.
The Old is Gone—the New Has Come
The Apostle Paul vocalizes a truth that we hold dear. We have been “crucified with Christ.” He means two things by that phrase. First, our sins have been nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from all sin—past, present, and future. Second, Paul says the “old life” is gone and we are new creations (2 Cor 5:17). We have died to the old ways of the flesh and live in peace, victory, and freedom. We live not to please ourselves, but to serve the Lord.
Reflecting Upon the Cross
In 1912, George Bennard, the evangelist, was traveling throughout the Midwest. After being heckled by several youth at a revival meeting in Michigan, Bennard went to the Scriptures for comfort and reflected upon the work of Christ upon the cross. He came to the conclusion, “I saw the Christ and the cross inseparable.” He began to write a hymn.
He completed the melody and first verse during a series of meetings in Albion, Michigan. Several months went by and the remaining verses were finished at a series of meetings in Pokagon, Michigan.
While at the church, Bennard sang the finished hymn for the pastor and his wife, Rev. Leroy and Ruby Bostwick, while in the living room of their parsonage. The couple was deeply moved by the hymn and the song was sung in the revival service on June 7, 1913. Bennard titled it, “The Old Rugged Cross.”
The cross, an instrument of death, was also an instrument of life. The cross, the emblem of suffering and shame, was the vehicle God used to offer up His one and only Son to pay the price for our sin. As Christ and His cross are one, Jesus reminded us to follow in His footsteps (Luke 9:23).
The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross. The emblem of suffering and shame. And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain.
Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world. Has a wondrous attraction for me For the dear Lamb of God, left His Glory above. To bear it to dark Calvary.
In the old rugged Cross, stained with blood so divine. A wondrous beauty I see. For the dear Lamb of God, left His Glory above. To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true. Its shame and reproach gladly bear. Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away. Where His glory forever I’ll share
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross. Till my trophies, at last, I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged Cross. And exchange it some day for a crown