a tilted cross

DSCN0904A decorated, wooden cross stands in my front yard. I’ve had many compliments on its beauty, but sometimes it tilts to one side since we did not do a very good job in digging and filling in the hole around its base. Many mornings I have to straighten it so it will look pretty. Hmmmm – a “pretty” cross?

We have come a long way from the cultural reality of the cross in Jesus’s day. It was a symbol of execution, much like the electric chair in today’s society. Think about wearing a gold electric chair around your neck or decorating it for your front yard! Even though the cross and the electric chair may be a symbol of execution by the courts, they are very different in how the death sentence is carried out. Today, those who are delivered to electrocution are spared from public humiliation and from a slow death. We don’t walk the criminal through the streets of the local town before they sit condemned to die. We don’t take their clothes from them and we don’t deliver just enough electricity to elongate their suffering. And neither do we place them next to a public roadway so that all who pass by can see their death. In all of its own ugliness, the electric chair does not equal the cross in its cruelty.

The tilted cross in my front yard reminded me of something else. Our view of the cross can become tilted. It is easy for us to see its love and forget its wrath. It is easy to see its beauty and forget its shame. It is easy to see its power and forget its cost.

Any balanced view of the cross will see that the blood spilled upon it contained justice and love mingled together. The wrath of God and the love of God was there at the same time.

Through the cross, God proved Himself to be just.  If God ignored sin’s punishment, He would be unjust. No one wants a judge who refuses to punish law breakers. When punishment does not come to the guilty then we hear people protesting that justice was not served.  If a human judge can not pardon everyone and keep his job, how can we think that God can do the same? He must punish the guilty so that justice can be served. The cross was God quenching His own wrath…justice served…payment made…guilt punished.

If the cross was the wrath of God, how in the world was it also the love of God? In His love, He provided the sacrifice upon which justice would be served. In His love, He provided a perfect, sinless sacrifice that could bear our guilt once and for all. In His love He sent Jesus. No wonder in Revelations 5 we find the worship of the Lamb who appeared “as if  it had been slain.”  The Lamb who “purchased men for God.”  Jesus paid the price by willfully bearing the wrath of God.  This is truly love at its highest…the just dying for the unjust.

The Resurrection was God placing His approval on all that was done on the cross.  It was Him saying “YES!” to His Son…..

“Yes” – payment accepted.  “Yes” – work completed.  “Yes” – justice served.  “Yes” –  My wrath is satisfied.  “Yes” – My love is proved…..now “RISE!!!!!!!!!”

As John Piper put it so well, “The wisdom of God devised a way for the love of God to deliver sinners from the wrath of God while not compromising the righteousness of God.” (Desiring God)

It is a balanced cross.  It balanced God’s justice and love toward mankind. It stands, lifted up…drawing all mankind to it as a gift of grace.

A balanced gift.  A beautiful gift.  God’s gift.

About 2b14u

I'm just a person. A person who has learned a lot of truth in the darkest days of life. The truth that glimmered, flashed and at times broke through like a day's dawn all came from the hands of a mighty God. His light makes the darkness worth it. To know my background, visit my posts titled "Jack-in-the-Box" and "Jack's Still Jumping"- Feb. 2012.
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8 Responses to a tilted cross

  1. Beautiful subject and a great explanation. Thanks for the reminder.


    • 2b14u says:

      I went to your blog and read some of the posts. What a cat story!!! If I could be as enthusiastic about getting up as my dog and your cats are, then the day would be great. My dog has a hurt foot and he stills brings me the ball to play! I can’t get my comments to post on the wordpress site for some reason, so I had to reply in the email. Thanks for reading and commenting.



      • We’re in that time of year when I play doorman as the cats want out, get chilled, want in, get bored, want out, get chilled. Pookie was really enthused about a flock of juncos flittering in our shrubs this morning; he learned birds are a tough chase. Thanks for visiting.


      • 2b14u says:

        That keeps you up and moving!!! Cabin Fever for Cats. ________________________________________


  2. Anonymous says:

    Liked your thoughts—we forget what our Savior endured for our sins—read a graphic description sometime this past week and felt the jarring of the cross being placed in the ground after the nails being placed and the whip’s scourging and the crown’ s digging-t—how painful and emotionally draining—–that cross was for each of us—-how beautiful when we know theSavior and what HE gave us—eternal life with HIM!!!!


    • 2b14u says:

      So true. I have heard what you described before in a sermon. Horrible. We just don’t realize how bad it was. Most criminals hung longer than He did, but He was in a really bad condition before He even made it there. When I watch the movies, it makes me feel relieved when He finally makes it to the hilside. That is bad when you think of being crucifeid as relief. Thanks for reading. DO you get an email or do you see it on FB? I never see it posted on FB so I wonder if it ever does get on there – I have it set to post automatically. ________________________________________


  3. Joyce Smothers says:

    A wonderful way of bringing the total reality and hope of the cross!


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