By Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com
During Thanksgiving week, with so much focus and attention on Black Friday deals, am reminded of another Black Friday that made all the difference. In our eternity.
That day so many years ago...when darkness covered all the land...when after hours of agony, our Savior breathed his last...when the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook and the rocks split...when the tombs broke open and bodies were raised again to life...when those who witnessed all that happened were terrified and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" But even though Christ was buried, and the tomb closed shut on that very dark day, he didn't stay dead. For the grave can't hold the One who came to set the captives free.
His Light > darkness
His Power > death
His Victory > defeat
Without the pain and reality of that one amazing day, without Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, without the power of the Resurrection and His final victory over sin and death, we would still be bound. We would still live defeated. We would still be groping in darkness.
In all of history, there is not one more redeeming, liberating, or costly gift, than the cross of Christ.
Yet many still resist him:
- To some in this world, the cross doesn’t make sense. It is foolishness to their minds. They don’t understand it. They won’t accept it. They live blinded to its power and grace.
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor. 1:18
- To others the cross of Christ brings an offense. They are offended by its sacrifice. They are offended by the Truth that Jesus paved the only way for us to be saved. They hide under the false belief that there must still be another way to come to God.
“…but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’” 1 Pet. 2:7-8
- To many people the cross of Christ stirs up hatred. There is an intense attack on those who call themselves Christ followers, on those who will not bow their knee to another god. We see it throughout history, stories of many courageous believers who have suffered violent persecution and death at the hands of those trying to destroy the knowledge of Christ and annihilate Christianity. We see it even today, as followers of Christ face persecution and death.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
But they don't know this one Truth – you can never overcome the Power of the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ. You cannot conquer its reality. You can’t hide it away or pretend it doesn’t exist. His Power is incapable of being shut down, ignored, forgotten, or destroyed. Ever.
For He is the One who reigns supreme. Death holds no sting, no power, over those who are forever changed by his forgiveness and grace.
What the price of the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ offers us:
- It provides a bridge, a way, to God. It gives us an opportunity to have a personal relationship with the very God who made us and loves us more than we could imagine. Without the cross, there is no way to cross over to the other side of relationship with him. Any attempt will fail. He is the Only Way.
“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
- It provides opportunity for forgiveness of sin. Through the price Jesus paid on Calvary, we have the chance to be forgiven of our own sin. He took our sin and shame upon his very shoulders. He took the blows on our behalf so we wouldn’t have to suffer. Such incredible love. Such amazing sacrifice.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Eph. 1:7
- It provides freedom to all those who believe. Freedom from the shackles of sin. Freedom from shame. Freedom from fear. Freedom from disgrace. Freedom from worry. Freedom from hopelessness. Freedom from despair. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from darkness and eternal separation from God.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
- It provides new life. We are not only forgiven, cleansed, and set free, but we have a whole new life and destiny through Christ. We are changed, from the inside. He renews our minds. He changes our hearts and desires. He gives us fresh purpose for every day set before us.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17
- It provides power for us to live today. When Jesus died on the cross, and was buried, it didn’t stop there. The final picture of all that the cross provides lies in the powerful Resurrection of our Lord. He won. He didn’t stay dead. He could not be closed in a tomb and forgotten through the ages. His power broke through, and that same power is alive within us today. As believers, God gives us the power of the Holy Spirit, living and moving through us each day. Sometimes we forget it’s there. Often we don’t ask him for a fresh filling of his Spirit breathed into our day. But he’s still there, waiting to help us and to live mightily through our lives.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
- It provides the way to have victory over the enemy. We do not have to fear him or his assaults. As we live aware of his traps, the power of Christ over our lives gives us a covering and protection from his evil schemes. We’re not left to fend for ourselves. We do not fight in our own strength. We can stand in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ, “for in him, we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor.15:57
- It provides for us an eternal heavenly home. We no longer have to fear and worry about what will happen when we die. In Christ we have been given the gift of eternal life. This earth is only our temporary home. God is preparing a place for us, with him, to live forever. And you can be assured it will be far greater than we could ever imagine.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Cor. 2:9
Thank you for the price you were willing to pay on the cross so we could live free. Thank you for the power of the Resurrection that brings victory over sin and death, and gives us the gift of eternal life. Thank you that this same power still works mightily within us today.
We praise you, for you are the Victorious One, Mighty Conqueror, Prince of Peace. Fill us with your Spirit, help us to live out your purposes in this generation, free, brave, and strong. We will not be held back with fear, for we know that you are with us. Thank you that you are the stability of our times. You are our Rock, our Refuge, our Strong Tower.
We love you Lord, we need you...
In Jesus’ Powerful Name,
Forever free in his unending grace.
(photo by Crosscards.com)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel.