It's what's ON the Cross that counts!
You've just recovered from major, life saving surgery. Do you thank the
scalpel? A policeman has just stopped a person from mugging you, do you thank
his uniform or gun? A fireman saves your home from fire, do you thank his
Imagine, if you will, the married couple in Cana thanking the water jugs
for making wine, or the blind man thanking the mud for giving his sight back.
But many of us are about to do that very soon.
On Good Friday, we shall come together to give praise, honor, and
thanksgiving to God for giving us the ultimate sacrifice for our redemption.
A triangular shaped object will be brought out, covered in a purple cloth.
The priest will intone: "Behold the wood of the cross on which hung the Savior
of the world." (or words to that affect) To which we will respond, "Come let
us adore Him." (ibid)
As the cloth comes off, many will see a cross, but no Christ. As though it
was the cross that saved us and not Christ.
The 'cross' was host to many people. The slave rebel Spartacus, the
unrepentant thief, and the good thief (and probably millions before and after
Christ). What makes the cross the path of salvation is that Christ hung on
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our
iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His
stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned
every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us
all" (Isaiah 53:5-6).
"A company of evildoers encircle Me;
they have pierced My hands and feet--
I can count all My bones-- they stare and gloat over Me;
they divide My garments among them,
and for My raiment they cast lots" (Psalm 22:16-17).
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of
man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:14-16).
"...this is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the
forgiveness of sins" (Matt. 26:28)
The story is told that when St. Francis of Assisi was brought before the
Sultan, the Sultan had a carpet of crosses laid before him so the man of God
would not approach him. As St. Francis was led in, he calmly walked to the
Sultan. "How can you walk on the cross of your God?" "That isn't the cross
of my Lord," replied St. Francis, "but that of the unrepentant thief."
It is Christ ON the cross, the crucifix, which is, and should be, our focus
of adoration and love. To paraphrase 'Look at the expression of true and
total love. See how His arms are open to embrace you, His face bowed to kiss
you, His side opened to show you His heart.'
The cross was nothing more than an instrument of execution, much like the
electric chair or the headsman axe. It was Christ ON the cross that
transformed it into an 'instrument' of hope, love, and redemption.