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Why a Cross

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Title:  WHY A CROSS?

Text:  John 19:13-19

            Why did God choose a cross for His Son on which to die?  OF all the less painful ways He could have chosen, why such a cruel, lonely way of death?  He could have chosen natural death, a quick sword thrust to the heart, or even a hanging would have been easier than a cross.  But why a cross?

            Crosses are so cruel in their death.  Your body weight hangs from nails in your hands and feet, which are nailed in an awkward position, and that is excruciating too.  The blood flows freely from the tearing wounds; you begin to dehydrate; you’re suspended in the air in the harsh elements; there’s no family at your side to nurse you; and you’re left there until you can’t lift your weight any more to breathe, so you suffocate.  Finally your heart stops.

            If I were God, I could think of a hundred better ways for my son to die.  Why did he choose a cross?

            The answer to my haunting question didn’t come in the passages about the crucifixion.  It came to me in the story of the prodigal son.  You remember the story don’t you?  His own choices reduced him to living like the swine he was feeding.  Sin will do that to you.

            Well, it was in his long walk back home that the answer to my question hit me.  As he neared home he anxiously, but shamefully peered around the corner to see if Dad was in the fields working or back in the shop fixing a broken plow.  But as he approached home and was clearly visible, Dad came bursting from whatever he was doing, running with his arms open wide!

            Do you see the answer to my question?  In the story you and I are the prodigal son, and Jesus is the Father who is watching and longing for our return home!  The open arms at the cross is His way of telling you and I that He’s been waiting for us to come home!  It’s His way of saying, “I forgive you!”  It’s the only way He could forgive us!

            If you haven’t come home yet, Jesus is standing just inside the gate…waiting…watching…and He wants to lavish His love on you with embracing arms!

            The Lord’s Supper is about the open, bleeding arms of Jesus.  It’s about wayward sons and daughters who come home and stick their feet under the Lord’s table…to eat food that reminds us of the One who came to die with His arms nailed open!

            Prayer: Father, how Your heart must have ached when You conceived the plan of Your Son’s death!  How Your heart must of ached when You shared it with Your Son!  What…love…is…this…Jesus, that would cause You to resolutely set Your heart to go to the cross for us?!  What love is this that would cry the night before: “Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass; but not My will, Thy will be done.”  What love is this that would sweat bloody sweat but accept Judas’ kiss?  What love is this that would bring You to a cross to say, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!”       Though I don’t fully understand this love, I accept it…and I rest in Your embracing arms!  Thank you for Your forgiving love!  Amen.

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