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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

The Truth of the Cross (John 19:30)

What does the cross mean to you? When you see the cross, do you think of a piece of jewelry or maybe a decoration in the front of your church sanctuary? When you see the cross, what do you think of? Do we really realize the truth of the cross?

Last night my daughter and son-in-law invited me to watch a movie with them, called The Case for Christ. They knew I had seen it before. But they also knew although I don't watch tv, I will never turn down a Christian movie.

Surprisingly, this particular movie, I had only seen once before. So there were a couple of scenes that really caught my attention.

For instance, as Lee Strobel, the investigative reporter, was desperately trying to find evidence that Jesus did NOT die on the cross, he brought up one of the popular theories known as "The Swoon Theory." This theory hypothesizes that although Jesus was nailed to the cross, He didn't actually die. This theory says He just passed out and was revived.

But what Lee Strobel uncovered from talking to a doctor who was also a scientist is that the death of Jesus on the cross was actually documented as historical fact in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in an article "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ."

In other words, after studying the gospel accounts of Jesus' death on the cross, medical doctors and scientists were able to explain exactly what happened to Jesus from the scourging, to the collapse and inability to carry the cross bar, to the thrust of the soldier's spear. Medically, the gospel accounts are completely accurate.

The four different gospel accounts, each varied as expected from the perspective of different eye witnesses but shared the same evidence of Jesus' death. This experienced investigative reporter, the medical doctors and scientists knew the pattern was exactly as it should be if in fact Jesus' death and resurrection were true.

But there was one other point in the movie that caught my attention. A guy who had been framed and sent to jail due to an article written by Lee Strobel, said to him, "you missed it because you didn't want to believe it was true."

And that's exactly what we see today. People don't believe Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected because they don't want to believe it is true. If Jesus really did die on that cross to pay the price of our sins so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life, that means we are guilty and that there are consequences to our sins.

That also means we can't pay for our sins on our own. Actually we can't even right the wrong for one of our sins. The only thing we can do to right our wrongs is repent of our sins and trust in Jesus' sacrifice in our place.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Lee Strobel also asked the question, why? Why would Jesus go through that horrible flogging, torture, and death by pain on that cross in our place, for our sins? He couldn't understand that degree of love.

The other thing he didn't want to acknowledge is that if Jesus died on that cross and was resurrected, that means there really is a God and that Jesus is that God, who came in human flesh. Because in order for one sacrifice to pay the price for all sin for all people, for all eternity, who repent and trust in Him, He has to be perfect; He has to be God.

That is why Jesus said with His last breath:

John 19:30 It is finished!

In Greek, "It is finished," is tetelestai, which means "your debt is paid in full." In that time, when someone owed a debt, the note of debt was nailed to a door post. Then when the debt was paid in full, it was stamped tetelestai. So everyone who heard Jesus say "tetelestai" would have understood He meant, "I am your passover lamb, sacrificed in your place, to pay the debt of your sins in full.

Many though, like Lee Strobel at that point, will continue to miss it simply because they don't want to believe the truth of the cross.

What about you?

Dear Lord, I pray for those reading this right now to have ears to hear and eyes to see the truth of your cross. I pray for whoever is reading this to understand that You love them so much, even if they were the only person who needed forgiveness, You would have still taken the cross for them. Lord, I ask for hardened hearts to be softened and forever given to You. Lord, thank you for loving me enough to take the cross in my place, to forgive me of my sins, and to promise me eternal life. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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