Walk through the gates of Jerusalem, look up to Calvary, and see the work of the cross. Remember the day our Savior, who bore His own cross, died for the sins of mankind upon the cross set upon that hill. See the cross beside it that bore the body of the thief, who in his dying breath recognized Jesus as Lord, and cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
Even as Jesus suffered the pain and agony of crucifixion, He set Himself aside. He assured this man, “Today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
The cross reminds each of us that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
THE CROSS: once-for-All
Jesus set the ultimate example of sacrifice in His once-for-all work on the cross. After completing His years of ministry, leading His disciples, and showing us His example for living a life pleasing to the Father, Jesus willingly offered up His life to pay the debt we could not pay—our sin debt. He died for all mankind. It is now our individual choice to accept or reject His gift.
Jesus completed His work and said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus, the sinless one (2 Corinthians 5:21), took the sin of the world and allowed Himself to be hung upon the cross. His blood became the ultimate sacrifice. The Bible describes Jesus as a “lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). His sacrifice provided the sacrifice and atonement for our sins. Sinful man was redeemed (made righteous) and reconciled to their Creator God.
Upon completion of God’s once-for-all act of love, the Lord God established a New Covenant (Hebrews 10:16-17) with His children. The veil of the temple that had separated man from God was torn so that we may enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-23).
WORK ON THE CROSS CONTINUES
The work of the cross is ongoing—
Jesus lives and sits at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 1:3; 12:2, Romans 8:34). The broken body of Jesus was lifted from the cross at the end of the day of His execution and placed in a borrowed tomb. The doorway was covered with a stone and our Lord was sealed within. But death had no hold on Him. When they returned to complete the burial, He had risen from the dead and after forty days of completing His work here on earth He was “lifted up” into heaven (Acts 1:1-11).
Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled…I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; where I am there you may be also….I am the Way, the Truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:1, 3, 6)
Jesus’ free gift of salvation is available to all of mankind. God is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Sinful man becomes “new creation” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Jesus breathed upon them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I (Jesus) have said to you” (John 14:26).
Jesus calls and strengthens us to follow Him so that we might fulfill the commandment to carry this gospel to the world (Acts 1:8).
Death has no hold on those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. When the earthly bodies of God’s children die, they will go to live with the Father and “dwell in the House of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
If we choose to accept the free gift of salvation and truly believe that:
We are sinners and are separated from God (Romans 3:23). The penalty for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Because of our sin, we can’t know and experience God’s love and we are spiritually separated from Him.
To remedy our situation, God sent His only Son to die in our place – to take the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8). After Jesus’ death, He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
Jesus is our only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
We can receive God’s gift through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and experience new birth (John 3:1-8).
We can live life eternally with the Father (John 11:25-26).
The work of the cross carries on – changing me, and changing you; changing the world