The cross: The heart of the Christian faith


Once again, Christians all over the world are commemorating Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday, continues to Good Friday, and culminates with Easter Sunday. During this week Christians around the world — almost two billion of them — will pause and remember what happened to our Lord when he entered Jerusalem for the final time 20 centuries ago.

I read about an interesting story recently.

In 1967 a young man named Charles Murray was training at the University of Cincinnati for the Summer Olympics of 1968 as a high diver. A Christian friend spent hours sharing the gospel with him. Charles was not raised in a Christian home, so the story of Jesus fascinated him. He even began to ask questions about forgiveness of sin. One day his Christian friend asked if he was ready to trust Christ as his own Savior. His reply was a definite “No.”

Because he was training for the Olympic games, Charles had special privileges at the university pool facilities. Some time between 10:30 and 11 that evening he decided to go swim and practice a few dives. It was a clear night in October and the moon was big and bright. The university pool was housed under a ceiling of glass panes so the moon shone bright across the top of the wall in the pool area. Charles climbed to the highest platform to take his first dive.

At that moment the Spirit of God began to convict him of his sin. All the Scripture he had read flooded his mind. He stood on the platform backwards to make his dive, spread his arms to gather his balance, looked up to the wall, and saw his own shadow caused by the light of the moon. It was the shape of a cross. He could bear the burden of his sin no longer. His heart broke and he sat down on the platform and asked God to forgive him and save him. He trusted Jesus Christ 20 feet in the air.

Suddenly, the lights came on. The attendant had come in to check the pool. As Charles looked down from his platform he saw an empty pool that had been drained for repairs. He had almost plummeted to his death, but the cross had stopped him from disaster.  (Source: Dr. Ray Pritchard)

No wonder Paul gloried in the cross. It is God’s plan to save us from disaster.

Let’s call to mind some of the most important passages that refers to our salvation.

John 3:16 (NKJV): 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

1 John 5:11-12 (NKJV): 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

This Holy Week, just meditate on these two verses on allow the Holy Spirit to just allow these verses to explode in your heart.

Holy Week is special because for us Christians, the Cross is the heart of the Christian faith.

The cross is God’s way of saying, “You can have your sin or you can have my Son — but you can’t have both.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the best news I have ever heard in my life bar none. It doesn’t matter what “your” sin is. It doesn’t matter how many sins you’ve piled up in your life. It doesn’t matter how guilty you think you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done this past week. It doesn’t matter how bad you’ve been. It doesn’t matter how many skeletons rattle around in your closet. The cross is God’s answer to your deepest needs. That is what theologians mean when they talk about the “finished work” of Jesus Christ. It’s not just a slogan, it’s a profound spiritual truth. When Jesus cried out “It is finished” (John 19:30) he meant that the penalty for sin had been paid in full.

Those who have paid their credit card debts can attest what a great feeling it is to be debt free. This can happen to you too. Come to the cross. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

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Pastor Chito Cordero is Senior Pastor of Word International Ministries in Los Angeles located or WIN LA at 530 Benton Way in LA CA 90057. For comments, please email him at acordero0313@yahoo.com. or wordinternational.com.

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