A Journey to the Cross

Back in the year 2000, the National Gallery in London decided that the most appropriate way to celebrate the arrival of the new millennium was to mount an exhibition of art on “the Image of Christ”.  It was presented in the belief that even secular audiences could engage with the different artist’s portrayals of the life and death of Jesus.  Near the end of the exhibition, the visitor encountered Salvador Dali’s Christ of St. John of the Cross, painted in 1951.

When first displayed it was met with considerable criticism from the experts.  Yet within the first two months, fifty thousand people of all types came through to see it and a press report commented, “Men entering the room where the picture is hung instinctively take off their hats.  Crowds of chattering, high-spirited school children are hushed into awed silence when they see it.”

Before the cross of Christ countless men and women of every generation and culture have stood in hushed awe and humbled silence.  The cross stands at the very heart of the Christian faith displaying God’s love, effecting salvation from sin, and inviting reconciliation with God.

But along Jesus’ journey to the cross, there were other significant events and symbols that tell the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

There was the trade Pilate made - Barabbas for Jesus - in order to satisfy the Jewish crowd and the chief priests. Jesus, an innocent man, ended up being crucified in place of Barabbas, a murderer.  In the same way, Jesus took our place - “(Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

There is a tree. Jesus died hanging on a tree. The Old Testament tells us, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  Paul reminds us, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13).

When Jesus died on that cross, the curtain in the temple tears from top to bottom. A super-natural event. And a symbol that now the way into the Holy of Holies is open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.

Then course there is the tomb, where Jesus’ dead and bloodied body was buried. It was a day of pain, hopelessness and darkness.

But then came Easter - Jesus’ resurrection and the throne. Jesus sat down at the right hand of His Father, God.  The resurrection of Christ is the good news that His work was completed.  He sits on the throne and waits for everything to be brought under his feet.  He sits because the work is done. “Because of one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”  (Hebrews 10:14)

During this month of April, I want to invite you to join us as we walk with Jesus on his journey to the cross and encounter these symbols.  And then celebrate with us on Easter Sunday morning the fact that Jesus’ work is completed and your sins have been paid for and you have been made holy forever.