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The Enduring Cross

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05_May_The Enduring Cross 1

"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven ...
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6: 20-21

In the middle of last month the world looked on in varying degrees of dismay as the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral succumbed to flames which burned a large amount of 850 years worth of Parisian heritage without mercy.

The beautiful building has survived several wars including the Nazi regime only to fall victim during a massive restoration project!  O dear!  After taking over 160 years to build during the gothic period it has been beautifully preserved up until that fateful evening on the 15th April!

I'm not going to get occupied too much about the building or what has been lost because at the end of the day, it is only a building after all.  However, there are a couple of things that made an impression on my mind as a result of this tragedy I would like to share with you.

Firstly is the fact that something so beautifully created and carefully kept and preserved for all those years was so easily destroyed in just a couple of hours - just like that!

There is no sense in investing so much time, talent, finance etc., on something so easily burned up; for the Bible tells us:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6: 19-21

It is all too easy to try to make a name for ourselves.  And with effort we can build our little castles and become independent even of our need for God!  But the Bible asks a very important question:

"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Matthew 16:26

There is a part of us that is eternal and when our little lives come to an end where will we go?  The body in which we live isn't something that is going to last forever.  We can see signs of aging and decaying right before our very eyes and no matter how well we look after our body we will have to give way to the inevitable one day sooner or later.

That sounds really depressing if we look at the subject from the viewpoint of someone unprepared.  However being prepared for eternity gives to us the opportunity to live life to the full with meaning and the purpose of bring to God our Maker great delight.

The Bible tells to: "Prepare to meet thy God ..." Amos 4: 12.  And the Lord Jesus has told us just how to do to do this:

05_May_The Enduring Cross

It's all about trusting in a work He has already done ... on the cross!  The cross is where the most important act ever took place and the greatest demonstration of love ever to have been expressed.  Continue reading and you will see the reason why.

Then something else about that really struck me as I am sure impressed many folks worldwide.  There was a picture generated over the Internet of the burnt out interior of the Cathedral the day after.  There in the midst of the charred remains is the large golden cross, which still stood prominently as if untouched by the fury of the flame which destroyed so much in its path.

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3: 14-16

What a message this is!  The cross Christ and what was accomplished by that precious Man is the central theme of the Bible and has been the message of His people down through the ages since the day our beloved Lord Jesus was crucified for poor lost sinners like ourselves.

This message and its symbol has been under furious attack down through the ages. And yet it still remains shining in spite of the world's rejection it, and the One who occupied it to die there.

No matter what the world thinks or does against what the cross represents, no matter what the powers that be think or do against it, and no matter what powers in the demonic realm seek to do against it, all the efforts to destroy the message of hope it brings have so far and will forever come to nought.

No matter what happens all around us the message of the cross of Christ
remains unchanged and unmoved by time and circumstances.

What happened on the cross that fateful day when Jesus our Lord suffered, bled, and died there has changed the course of history, and nothing will ever be the same again.  The enemy tried to do his worst to Him, He used the world to do its worst to Him, and when the Lord Jesus died there the devil thought he had won the day.  But he was wrong!

Those hours alone when a supernatural darkness shrouded the scene hid from view the work He came to do.  This was between Him and God.  The sinless One dying in the place of the sinner.  'The just for the unjust, that He might bring us back to God.'  The Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep.

Every soul who has been touched by such great love know we do not deserve to be loved like that.  But God chose to do so 'while we were yet sinners', and it is indescribable goodness like this that God uses to reach people like you and me to bring to repentance our otherwise hardened hearts.

It is our sin that separates us from God and all the goodness He wants to bestow upon us.  And because of love and mercy Jesus the beloved and sinless Son of God took upon Himself the dreadful sin that has separated us from Him and became separated from God on our behalf.

He truly knew what it was like to feel alone and forsaken ...

so that we might know what it is like to treasure a living, intimate relationship with Almighty God.  Because of love He entered into this realm to die as our Substitute bearing in His own body the consequences of our sin so that 'in Him' we might know all is well with our soul.

Although it was an empty golden cross at Notre Dame that survived the flame, we know from the Bible that the cross upon which Jesus died is now empty.  His work is finished and after dying He was taken by loving hands, anointed and embalmed, and laid in a tomb where no one else had ever laid before. And thankfully the tomb into which His body was laid for a short while is now empty also, because it was not possible for death to keep Him!

The Man in whom countless people down through the ages have trusted is a real Man alive in heaven today.  Our hope is in Him.  Our security is in Him.  Our joy, our rest, our comfort, and desires are all found in Him. "In Him," the Bible says:

"we are accepted in the beloved."
Ephesians 1: 6.

Imagine that!
Acceptable to God in and through the Lord Jesus. No props, just Him!

There's no safer place to be on earth.  Let the fires of the world and the enemy's fury burn around us but 'in Christ' we are safe from harm.  Let the waters of suffering overflow us but 'in Christ' we will find comfort and hope.

The cross may be empty, and the tomb in which His sacred body once laid may be empty but our hearts are filled with the lovely man who once occupied those paces.  One soon day we will occupy the place He has been long preparing.  Soon we will answer to the call to come away from this sad old world that wants nothing to do with the Christ, the beloved Son of God.  And soon His people are going to behold the One who has occupied our hearts when faith gives way to sight ... at last!

"And there was delivered unto [Jesus] the book of the prophet Esaias.
And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.'

And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down.
And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Luke 4: 17-21

 ~~~~~

>> Do you have any questions or comments about what it means to trust in Christ alone?  I would love to hear from you -
      why not say hello down below!

 

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  1. Sue

    Amen - you've put it so beautifully xx

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