“What one word best sums up what the cross means to you?”
Loads of people got back to me and to my astonishment – every single person gave a different word! I must confess that I found it really interesting, so I thought I’d ask the same question to the Hill City faithful at our Good Friday service the following morning. Again, incredibly a catalogue of different words. Here’s some of the different words put forward:
- Thirsty (as in John 19v28)
- Diolch (for my non-Welsh readers that’s the Welsh word for ‘thanks’)
- Fear (reverent)
There were quite a few others – but these are the ones that I can recall 10 days later (love and freedom were the only two words that cropped up more than once!) So while this was hardly an in-depth and widely researched piece of market analysis, it’s still apparent that the cross carries multiple meanings to many different people. And I love that because it’s not like some were right and some were wrong. The cross is about love and forgiveness and sacrifice and grace etc. all at the same time.
That’s the beauty of it!
The cross is literally a multi-faceted jewel that only gets more impressive, more fascinating, more captivating, more awe-inspiring and more precious the more time you spend studying it. I still remember that when I was first saved I couldn’t get over the fact that the cross said that I’m fully forgiven forever! It was a facet of the jewel that I just couldn’t get enough of – it was the best news a sinner like me could ever hear and I was simply mesmerised by it!
However, as I have grown as a Christian and gone through different stages and experiences of life I can honestly say that there are other beautiful aspects of the cross that I have come to appreciate. When I’ve felt lonely or betrayed the cross has reassured me that God loves me. When I’ve messed-up and felt like I’ve pushed God too far away I’m reassured by His promise of grace to the dying thief. When my mam was dying it was the empathy of the suffering servant and the promise of eternal healing by His stripes that gave me strength.
I’m no longer naive enough to think that I will ever be able to fully appreciate every awesome dimension of the cross of Christ all at the same time. When you hold a jewel up to the light you can only see one precious part at a time. However, it’s as you slowly turn that jewel in the light that you get to see that there’s even more beauty around every corner that’s still waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
May that forever be our experience of the multi-faceted jewel of the gospel.