Cherishing the Old, Rugged Cross

Michael Beck

“And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” (Luke 23:49)

To our natural sight the cross is anything but beautiful. To see an innocent, good person tortured to death in the most humiliating fashion is more than any decent person can take. We recoil from the idea of the cross. It is folly. It is unjust. It should not be. But it was. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor. 1:25)

As hard as it is to comprehend, it pleased the Father to bruise the Son that through His wounds we might be healed. Our absolute hatred for the injustice done; our desire for vengeance upon those who would commit such a heinous crime, is turned upon us. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities.

If we are to hate those who crucified Him, we must hate ourselves. If we are to want vengeance upon them, we must want vengeance upon ourselves. But what is this word we hear as we dare to draw near to the foot of the cross: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Suddenly, we go from being the executioners of the guilty to the pardoned of God. The hot indignation that consumed us as we beheld injustice is replaced with ineffable mercy. And then, our own cross comes.

Would we know Jesus in the fellowship of His sufferings? Would we be made conformable to His death? Then it is not just the injustice done to Him that we must fathom; we must be willing to embrace our own cross with all the indignity and injustice it entails.

The natural man does not want to be anywhere near the cross, let alone on it. The cross is exquisite agony. Its suffering goes far beyond physical pain. It is the experiencing of blatant injustice. It is rejection of the highest order.

Most would still behold the cross from afar.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.