11 Apr What Does The Cross Mean To A World In Turmoil?
It is a very memorable Easter Saturday today. Yet we have never had this situation before where churches all around the world are closed and most of us are spending this weekend at our own homes. However, let us remember that the church still exist. And in this most Holy weekend, I would like all of us to ponder through: What does the cross of Jesus mean to a world plagued with fear, uncertainty, economic downturn, or the possibility of not recovering from the widespread of the Coronavirus? This is after all the apprehension felt by many experts and world leaders at this time.
Now, I believe God our Father will not want His children to fear in whatever situation. But let me ask you, my brethren, do you recall what is the most often mentioned negative prohibition by our Jesus in His ministry on earth? “Fear not”. “Do not fear, do not be afraid”. You hear this all the time from the Lord’s mouth. God knows how helpless we could be, and how paralyzing fear can be. And just as the world is hoping for good news, for the number of infections to go down, for vaccines to be developed, why are we Christians still whole-heartedly remembering the Son of God now?
Why did God in all the fears and turmoil in the history of mankind, choose to send His Son? And how does the sending of His son calm our fears, or remove the turmoil and disasters in this world? Well, the simple answer to that is by sending His own son, God seek to remove the root of all fears and turmoil, and to remove it totally. And it is no wonder our Lord Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace.
In the messianic prophecy given in <Isaiah 9:6>: our Lord Jesus was referred to as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. And yes, His counseling, His mightiness, His everlasting attributes, will ultimately result in peace.
“But how does that peace come to us?”, you may ask. Now I am going to imprint this truth upon your hearts. i.e. the peace of God comes through intense strife and conflict, so to speak. If you could recall, Jesus said in his own words in <Matthew 10:34-35>, He said: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (listen again: a sword). For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—.”
I supposed it might be puzzling to quite a few people why the Prince of Peace did not bring peace in this case, but a sword. Now, the simple answer to that question is because men has been pursuing peace in their sins. Men has not understood how sins has filled this world with so much evil, selfishness and strife within, and it is not possible for everlasting peace, unless the problem of sins are being dealt with. So how did God deal with sins, my friends? God deal with it with the Cross, which brings both the sword and peace!
Our Lord Jesus, who is God himself, and also the Only sinless man, went up on the cross to pay for all our sins. He went through 6 hours of the most arduous suffering, where the most glorious Deity was hung on the cross, like a piece of flesh, subjected to the most intense shame and torture. And by doing so, He made peace between us and God!
But what goes on behind the scene of the cross? What goes on in the spiritual realm when the Son of God was reduced to such a wretch on the cross? All the evilness, selfishness, conflicts, strife, killings, and depravation of all kinds, which lay deep in the souls of men, were laid upon Him. The full wrath of Father God came upon His Son on the cross. And the Son was considered so wretched at that point, where He carried all our sins, that Father God has to turn His face away from Him. Yet, how did the World respond to His death? How did the World reject His salvation?
Now my dear friends and all who are listening to this, do not think that God has taken away your peace with this current pandemic or with any turmoil in this world. The Coronavirus merely brought out the reality of sins. There is no true peace even without the Coronavirus.
And today even as the world is in turmoil, let us humbly remember the cross again. Through the cross, God is removing every sin, every evil, every strife and conflict in us. And for that to happen, “the cross has to bring the sword” first. The sword comes before the peace. As Jesus said: “I’ve have come to bring the sword!” With His cross, the Son of God has brought a sword into the hearts of men to reveal how sinful he is. He has brought a sword into the relationship of men to show how self-centered each of us is. He has brought a sword into this world to show how prideful we are.
There was an unbelieving husband who came to me and told me how his relationship with his believing wife has suffered a meltdown ever since she started going to church. In fact, the wife did not visit any church for years after her conversion in order to appease her husband. But after 5 years, she decided it was enough. And when she started visiting our church, her love for the Lord and His church grew in leaps and bounds. Yet, the strain in their marriage became greater as a result of that. Her husband merely wants her to believe in moderation and not be overly religious. Now indeed we can see the sword coming between them. But the Lord is in fact bringing true peace to their marriage. I saw how much the Lord loves the wife and would want to save the husband through her. But the sword (which is the strife, the differences, the struggle) is inevitable. The sword has to perform its function before true reconciliation can come upon spouses, upon families, upon societies.
The sword has to pierce our pride and remove the “tumor of self-centeredness” in our lives, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. It is not welcomed by the sinful and prideful nature. Yet for all who are humbly dealt with by the sword, for all who confess their sins and turn from their pride, there, the peace of the cross will come upon him.
On my last note, I would like to reiterate that our Lord Jesus would never wish for His loved ones to live in fear and apprehension. And there you see in <John 20:19>. It was a glorious Sunday. It was the Lord’s day. Yet, the disciples were overwhelmed with fear and they lock the doors tight as they gather. Even then, that was not enough to dissipate their fear, yet the Lord Jesus came and stood among them, and the very first thing the Lord said to them was: “Peace be with you”. The Lord valued the peace in our hearts more than anything else, in case you are mistaken, my brethren. The Lord takes no pleasure in our fear. So even in this time of widespread pandemic, the Lord gives peace, and He gives true peace, not as the world gives. So do not settle for a fake peace, a peace that would never last. Do not settle for a peace that is anchored upon things that are temporal and perishable. The spread of the Coronavirus can be alarming, but it is rendered powerless before the peace of God. So embrace the Cross. Let the sword deal with you, and the peace of God will come upon you. I wish you a most peaceful and meaningful Easter Saturday.