The Meaning of the Cross
Today’s Scripture: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
The theme of God’s redemptive plan runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. At its heart is Calvary, the place where Jesus died so we could be forgiven. As we read the Scriptures, we see that the cross symbolizes . . .
Salvation. Jesus bore our sins upon the cross and died in our place so we could be reconciled to God and receive eternal life.
Sacrifice. Christ, who was “in very nature God” (Philippians 2:6 NIV), chose to leave the perfection of heaven and live among sinful people. Laying aside His divine authority, He was born a helpless baby, completely dependent upon others. His first 30 years were spent in obscurity, without recognition of His Messiahship. During His public ministry, He faithfully carried out God’s plan all the way to His death on the cross. Jesus’ days on earth are an example to us of the sacrificial life (Romans 12:1-2).
Service. Jesus said He “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Christ’s supreme act of service was dying on the cross so we might have eternal life. Our Savior calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him through sacrificial service to others (Luke 9:23). As we embrace a lifestyle of humility and servanthood, we will bring glory to our heavenly Father.
In our culture, success is based on achievement. We admire those who perform well in athletics, business, and the arts. However, greatness in God’s kingdom is found in a life of obedience. Are you following His plan and helping others as Jesus did? Have you shared with them the good news of Christ?