Blessings of the Cross

April 21, 2019
The cross reminds us of suffering and death. In particular, it points to the unjust suffering and eventual death of the Lord Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death was meant to pay the penalty of our sins. While the Bible tells us that “the one who sins is the one who will die” (Ezek. 18:20), it was on account of God’s love for us that Jesus Christ was sent to the cross. The apostle Peter appropriately described the blessings of Jesus’ sacrificial death when he said, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Yes, the penalty of sin is death, but Jesus paid it on our behalf.
 
The cross was a means to accomplish God’s great plan of salvation. It was the blessings of the cross that moved Jesus to endure all that was done to him. Did Jesus know what was about to happen to him? Certainly! He said of himself: “He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him” (Luke 18:32). In spite of this, he willingly submitted to the will of the Father, knowing that there are many blessings that are waiting beyond the cross. It is for this reason that the apostle Paul encouraged us, saying, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
 
Because of the blessings of the cross, Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). The cost of following Jesus requires a lot of sacrifices. Many are discouraged to continue on in their spiritual journey because of the price that they have to pay. But if we consider the blessings of the cross, these far outweigh the cost. These are the blessings that we will miss if we do not carry our cross and follow Jesus:
 
Peace. We are living in a troubled world and wickedness abound. The Lord fitly described the condition of the people of this world when he said, “There is no peace for the wicked” (Isa. 48:22). But Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). More importantly, having been separated by sin, it is through our Lord Jesus Christ that we can have peace with God. The apostle Paul said, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
 
Joy. Life without Jesus is sad and lonely. While you can surround yourself with people and things, nothing and no one else can give you the joy that comes from God. Even King David knew this and said to the Lord, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish” (Psalm 25:16-17). Faithful obedience to the Lord assures us of his joy. Jesus said, “Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11).
 
Hope. In the hopelessness of this life, King David said, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7). Many are suffering and cannot expect anything good in this world. There is even a strong pressure to submit to hopelessness, but the apostle Paul encouraged us to persevere “while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:13-14).
 
Eternal Life. In his epistle, the apostle John said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). We all want to have eternal life and we will. However, there is eternal life in heaven and there is also eternal life in hell. Whether we will spend eternity in heaven or not depends on how we respond to the invitation to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
 
While the cross is always associated with suffering, it provides many blessings to us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour and enjoy all the blessings he promised. Don’t miss out. Hallelujah!\