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September 10, 2013
Earlier this year, the Crossing Church in Chattanooga, TN erected three giant steel crosses that can be seen from Interstate 75. The center cross is 125 feet tall while the crosses on each side are 100 feet tall. The intention of the Crossing Church was to remind the public of the central theme of the Bible: the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross that washes away our sin.
Not surprisingly, when the general public learned how much it cost to put up those three crosses, they whined and complained about how much better use the $700,000 that was spent to erect these three crosses could have made by supporting various charities.
There are two things that stand out from the public's reaction and criticism of erecting these crosses: the spirit of Judas Iscariot and the world's hatred of the cross.
In the book of Mark Chapter 14 we read, "3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always."
Verse 4 stated there were some who were indignant when the woman poured the oil over the head of Jesus. Bible scholars believe that "some" to be none other than Judas Iscariot who never truly believed in Jesus and never did accept Him for who He was until it was too late. The claim was the oil was wasted by an act of worship when it could have been sold and given to the poor. It is highly unlikely that Judas had any interest in helping the poor.
When the public criticized how the money was spent in erecting those three crosses, do you really think they had concern for the poor? If they were concerned with the poor, how much money or work have they personally done to assist the poor? Were they demonstrating the spirit of Judas Iscariot here? Jesus said the poor would always be with us and we can assist them anytime we wish. Jesus was saying it was proper to put Him above all else and that message never hit home with Judas.
The great commission of the church is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. The money that was used to put those crosses up came from public donations. This means that there were a few people from the general public who thought putting those crosses up was just one way they could help spread the good news that Jesus died on the cross to wash away our sins. There are an estimated 75,000 cars that drive by those crosses each day.
The Bible teaches us to take all our cares and lay them at the foot of the cross. How many drivers and passengers who pass by those crosses are reminded that they need to take their problems to the Lord in prayer? If only one person in history would have accepted what Jesus did on the cross, then Jesus would have died for that person. If only one person was motivated to turn to Jesus after being inspired by those crosses, don't you think Jesus would have thought it was money well spent? We know from history that far more than one person has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and we have no idea how many will come to Christ after driving by those crosses.
The simple fact of the matter is that the world despises the cross and what it represents. The cross is a constant reminder to the world that they are sinners and the world hates that. The world likes to think man is basically good but the Bible teaches just the opposite. When the world rejects the redemptive work of Christ, they invent their own religions and deceive themselves into thinking they can get into heaven by their own good works.
Here is what the Bible says about man's supposedly good works: "“There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God." Romans Chapter 3 "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away" Isa. 64:6 "10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." James Chapter 2
It is impossible to get to heaven by our good works yet the world tries and tries and tries and never succeeds. Faith in what Jesus did on the cross is the only way to heaven and the world hates that message. It is this hatred of the cross that inspired the public to protest the erection of the three crosses at the Crossing Church in Chattanooga. It is this hatred of the cross that causes Muslims and Communists to kill Christians and attempt to drive them out of their homes. It is this hatred of the cross that has led to the banning of prayer in our public schools. It is this hatred of the cross that has led to the legalization of murder and call it abortion. It is this hatred of the cross that is forcing the acceptance of homosexual behavior down our throats.
Jesus, who not only died for us but also created us, had this to say about the world's relation to Him and His followers: "19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me." John Chapter 15
Why does the world hate Jesus and those who follow Him? We see this played out in the public's reaction to those three giant crosses put up by the Crossings church. We see this played out when our government makes laws forcing businesses to accept homosexual behavior. We see this played out everyday in the rampant immorality of our nation.
What is behind this hatred of any and all things related to Jesus and the cross? The answer is found in the Bible: "3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them."2 Cor.4
The god of this age is Satan and Satan has blinded all who refuse to believe in the gospel. Satan despises the cross because the cross represents his defeat and Satan will do his best to bring others down with him because he wants to be worshiped as God. This is why there was such a public outcry when three giant crosses were put up. They declare to the world, "Satan you lose!"
Copyright 2013 by Gary Goodworth
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